THE region has long lamented a lack of tradies.
Smaller towns have for the past couple of years faced a tradie shortage.
With a greater focus on tertiary education and the mining boom of recent years, Gunnedah in particular, is among a handful of towns facing a shortfall.
Brickies, builders, plumbers and sparkies are just some of the often back-breaking and laborious – but fundamental – jobs that hold up a town. They are, more often than not, the bricks and mortar of a town.
So disinterested in pursuing a trade were Gunnedah kids that the inaugural Try-a-Trade expo scheduled late last year was postponed due to lack of numbers.
The event aimed to showcase local trades and link employers to those seeking work-based training.
Tradies help future-proof towns.
Without them, there’s little infrastructure to keep a place alive.
But thankfully there’s light at the end of the tunnel.
TAFE is experiencing a trade boom, with one career in particular topping the list of enrolments.
The latest figures provided by TAFE NSW have revealed huge industry demand for electricians, which has meant apprentices have been flocking to the Tamworth campus for the Certificate III in Electrotechnology course. It is the second year in a row that the course has topped the list of the most popular.
Regional general manager Adam Bennett told The Leader there was an increase in interest and enrolments in the Certificate III in Electrotechnology course right across western NSW.
“This is because it’s a massive growth area and there’s a skills shortage in the industry across the state,” he said.
“So not only is this increase driven by industry demand, it’s also because our students enjoy hands-on learning from industry experts.
“The fact that employers trust our training, which can lead to exciting, real-life employment prospects is also a major reason for this increase.”
Thankfully, our younger generations are looking to take up trades more and more.
A trade is just as important as a tertiary education at university. It’s important we encourage students to pursue whatever path makes them happy – whether it’s hitting the books or picking up the tools.