Victoria’s first Advanced Welder Training Centre (AWTC) has opened in Melbourne, expected to help the state to provide enough highly skilled welders for the defence and advanced manufacturing industries, as well as major rail and infrastructure projects.
The AWTC has been established at Box Hill TAFE in Melbourne, with the Victorian Minister for Training and Skills the Hon Gayle Tierney MP pledging $1 million worth of funding for the centre. The newly refurbished centre will feature an advanced augmented reality lab equipped with welding simulators and five trainers.
The training delivered at the AWTC will quickly qualify welders to the standard required by ISO 9606-1 Qualification testing of welders – Fusion welding. ISO 9606 is the only Standard in the world which is accepted in both Europe and America. It is a simple test that assesses welding competency according to a specific weld procedure, based on a practical acceptance criteria.
According to Geoff Crittenden, Chief Executive Officer, Weld Australia, the centre will help ensure there is a strong supply of capable welders, ready to deliver the $630 million worth of defence industry work already awarded to Victorian companies.
“Without a doubt, the successful implementation of this innovative training initiative will revolutionise welder training in Australia. It will raise the standard of welder education in Australia exponentially, putting our welder training on par with the best in Europe and America,” said Crittenden.
The Victorian Skills Commissioner, Mr Neil Coulson said employment in Victoria’s manufacturing sector remains strong and industry demand for welding skills has swelled.
Indeed, the Australian Industry Group’s Performance of Manufacturing Index Activity levels has held steady or improved for 16 consecutive months, the longest stretch of improvement since 2005.
In mid-2017, Weld Australia was commissioned to convene an Industry Skills Group which prepared a curriculum for training both experienced welders and entry-level workers. The courses were accredited by the Victorian Registration and Qualifications Authority (VRQA) in late 2017. As a result, TAFEs across Victoria and around the country can teach the accredited course, which will be funded by their parent State Government.