• A young apprentice on the job.
    A young apprentice on the job.

A new suite of learning resources for the Manufacturing and Engineering Training Package was launched yesterday by Weld Australia.

The industry body designed and created 12 welding and fabrication units of competency in the Manufacturing and Engineering (MEM) Training Package.

Weld Australia CEO, Geoff Crittenden, said the resources help simplify the learning process for students, teachers and training institutes and—most importantly—place the student at the centre of the learning process.

“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,” he said.
“Welders are more in demand than ever—labour shortages are inhibiting the growth of Australia’s welding industry.”

Some 50 per cent of Australia’s welding workshops are currently operating at 80 per cent of their capacity or below due to the skills shortage.

“This labour shortage comes as no surprise. Weld Australia has been calling for urgent action for over five years. We estimate that Australia will be at least 70,000 welders short by 2030,” Crittenden said.

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

“It is essential that welder training is revolutionised with online, accessible and engaging learning resources.”

To address this issue Weld Australia formed a national consortium of TAFEs to improve training. Over the last two years, the consortium has collaborated to develop the most engaging, up-to-date resources possible.

Members of the consortium piloted use of the resources, and some TAFEs have already permanently adopted them.