07 April 2010
Helping young electricians stay current
Senator Mark Arbib, left, discusses skills training on his recent visit.
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RMIT University is participating in a program that helps apprentice electricians maintain their skills if they lose their jobs.
The Skills Enhancement Program (SEP) is run in Brunswick in collaboration with the 370 Degrees Group. Additional funds come from the federal and state governments, the National Electrical and Communications Association, and the Electrical Trades Union.
Senator Mark Arbib, Minister for Employment Participation, visited the scheme recently while opening 370 Degrees' new training facilities nearby.
He said: “Programs like this have kept in touch a huge number of young people so they still, even though they might not have a job, get training, get up-skilled and keep connected to the industry.
“So that when the economy starts to pick up, they can move straight back into employment.”
Allan Ballagh, RMIT Director, TAFE, said the SEP was a valuable initiative for an industry that had been impacted by the global financial crisis.
"We've given 18 weeks' training to some 100 apprentices who might otherwise have fallen through the cracks.
"Staff from RMIT's School of Engineering TAFE work with 370 Degrees staff to deliver the course.
"Apprentices come to RMIT for advanced electrical training and overall spend four days a week in work simulation and one day job hunting.
"We've found that the SEP lifts the young people's self-esteem, combats negativities and keeps their skills sharp and relevant."
RMIT provides the training venue and the University, 370 Degrees and industry partners have contributed equipment.
Mr Ballagh commended the RMIT teachers who have helped run the project, Arvind Sharma and Tony Robins.