• Bundoora campus, RMIT.
    Bundoora campus, RMIT.

By 2025 Victoria will need 4,000 electricians, 2,400 plumbers and 500 refrigeration mechanics.

To meet this demand RMIT University has created a new Trades Innovation Centre.

Students will benefit from simulations, sector-leading equipment and teaching practices, and programs that integrate job-ready and future-ready industry skills.

It will also provide an opportunity for industry to use the facility to test, learn, trial and demonstrate, and access RMIT’s expertise to solve real-world problems.  

The Trades Innovation Centre will enable RMIT to contribute to meeting forecasted demand over the next three to five years, in line with the Victorian Government Skills Plan and Clean Economy Workforce Skills requirements.

Deputy Vice-Chancellor vocational education and vice-president, Mish Eastman, explained the importance of investment in trades education.

“Victoria is undergoing a significant transformation, marked by major infrastructure investment, a shift to a clean economy, and evolving occupational requirements,” Eastman said.

“There is a need for hundreds of thousands of additional construction workers in the next five years to meet evolving industry workforce requirements and government initiatives such as the Victorian Big Build.

“In addition to meeting shortages in the workforce, the sector also needs to adopt technology innovation to improve productivity.”

The centre will have a 1,700 square metre footprint that includes a 2.5-metre-deep sand pit, double height ceilings throughout the workshop and a three-storey training rig that simulates a building during construction.

A modular design will allow for multi-use spaces and zones that can expand and contract as needed.

By splitting the centre into ‘trade zones’, students will learn hands-on skills within view of other trades – leading to a deeper understanding of different trades and how they intersect and complement. Students will learn on simulated work sites (frames, sub floors and roof structures), using the latest tools and equipment.

The building itself will be a learning experience, with its inner workings on display (such as exposed sanitary and water tanks) and access to live technology (such as solar panels). Roof access and other outdoor zones will also be available for students.

Roll-in mobile benches with connection to virtual, augmented and mixed reality programs will allow RMIT students to safely develop skills before engaging in ‘live’ situations, such as welding.

With its position at RMIT’s Bundoora East campus, the new facility will also provide a link between students and the opportunities presented by major infrastructure and construction projects in the northern corridor.

The location will also bring together trades education and the existing pre-apprenticeship training at Bundoora East and the Skills and Jobs Centre at Bundoora West.