Fiona Lawrie, founder of Tradeswomen Australia

VU Polytechnic industry partners, staff and students, along with the community in Melbourne’s west, gathered recently for the inaugural Construction Industry Showcase to highlight a booming workforce demand in one of Australia’s fastest growing regions.

Treasurer and Member for Werribee the Honourable Tim Pallas announced that Victoria University Polytechnic (VU Polytechnic) will receive $1.3 million in state government funding. This will allow for additional training for civil construction workers at Victoria University’s (VU) Wyndham Technology and Education precinct in Werribee.

The funding boost will provide the necessary equipment for students in Certificate III in Civil Construction to gain the on-the-job skills required to support Victoria’s infrastructure projects. Part of the Victorian Government’s Free TAFE for Priority Courses, the program is delivered in partnership with the builder of the West Gate Tunnel Project, CPB John Holland.

Vice-President, Vocational Education Grant Dreher said the Polytechnic is proud to respond to industry demand for skilled workers.

West Gate Tunnel replica offers practical experience

VU’s Werribee East Campus reopened last year with a $2 million facelift to train the workforce needed to fill skill-shortages in the construction industry.

The West Gate Tunnel Project is expected to create more than 6000 jobs, including 500 jobs for apprentices, trainees and graduates. VU Polytechnic will help train students with state-of-art equipment, including a virtual reality room and a life-size tunnel simulator with a seven-metre circumference, replicating a section of the West Gate Tunnel.

The simulator will be complete with conveyor belts, electrics, piping and lighting. Access to this equipment will provide students with vital experience in order to step into jobs work-ready on the Victorian Government’s major infrastructure projects.

For other projects in Melbourne’s west, Victoria University Polytechnic offers pre-apprenticeship courses in carpentry, electrical and civil construction, all of which are available under the state government’s Free TAFE for Priority Courses program.

Event attracts leading industry representatives

The event included presentations by leading industry representatives from John Holland, SAGE Technology, Metricon Homes, Institute of Drone Technology and Tradeswomen Australia. VU alumni and CEO of the Institute of Drone Technology, Dr Joel Spencer, outlined how drones could be used to make the construction industry safer, more efficient, and more innovative.

Dr Spencer said of the partnership with VU:

“I’m happy to be partnering with Victoria University Polytechnic to help them integrate drone technology into its vocational training. It’s the way of the future.”

Watch our video for more about VU Polytechnic's Construction Industry Showcase