Weld Australia launch training revolution to fight TAFE drop-out rates

Paul Eyers
By Paul Eyers
3 Min Read

Australia’s peak welding industry body has launched a new training resources program to re-spark interest from the next generation of tradies.

The industry’s labour shortage has become an increasing cause of concern for Weld Australia, with half the nation’s workshops operating at 80 per cent capacity or below.

Declining worker numbers fused with a high apprenticeship drop-out rate have forecast the trade to be 70,000 welders short by 2030.

Weld Australia CEO Geoff Crittenden said the industry had been crying out for urgent action for over a decade.

“This labour shortage comes as no surprise,” he said.

“The number of welding trade workers in Australia dropped by 8 per cent in just five years, and completion rates of welding apprenticeships continue to fall by as much as 23 per cent annually.”

Mr Crittenden said reviving the industry meant revolutionising the education and training sector, with the nation’s welding course curriculums not revised or updated in 25 years.

But Weld Australia has since joined a consortium of TAFEs to revolutionise current learning modules and re-solder students’ interests.

“Weld Australia believes that a national industry, which has a national learning package, needs national learning resources,” Mr Crittenden said.

Whether you’re an apprentice in Kalgoorlie, Ultimo or Davenport, you should have access to the same high-quality training. Our goal is to help ensure that high-quality welder learning is consistent across the country.”

The new learning resources have begun testing, with many TAFEs already choosing to adopt them permanently.

The 12 learning modules are completely accessible online, allowing students to learn at the time, place, and pace that suits them, with a focus on the latest technology to keep students engaged and enthused.

The strategic change to incorporate more online learning methods is a welcome update to an outdated training curriculum the industry body has long viewed as needing a refresh.

“The TAFE welding curriculum must be revised so that meets industry demand now, and into the future. It cannot be bogged down by excessive prerequisites, mandated workplace practice that employers simply can’t deliver, and training in skills that just aren’t relevant to industry anymore,” a statement on the Weld Australia website reads.

The Welding curriculum must concentrate on the skills that will be essential to the future of industry.”

“These skills must be focused on advancements such as automation, robotics, artificial intelligence, big data, and advanced manufacturing processes.”

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Paul Eyers has worked as a journalist for a range of media publishers including News Corp and Network Ten. He has also worked outside of Australia, including time spent with ABS-CBN in the Philippines. Stepping away from the media, Paul spent five years sharpening his tools in construction - building his skill set and expertise within the trade industry. His diverse experiences and unique journey have equipped him with an insider view of Australia’s construction game to dig deep into the big stories.