Increasing local skills has its challenges at times

Increasing local skills has its challenges at times

  • Published on Friday, June 18, 2010

There are only so many courses a vocational training provider can deliver – regardless of where they are located. The challenge facing local Wagga Wagga businesswoman, Jody Oliver of The Appliance Man, was in finding where she could send her two new apprentices, Chris Eustace and James Hyland for their Certificate III in Appliance Servicing because the course isn’t available in the region.

The solution came from Cameron Granger, from MEGT Australian Apprenticeships Centre; but that solution involved a huge logistics exercise and attending training in Brisbane. Mrs Oliver knew the investment would include travel and accommodation costs, but the largest potential cost would be the time her apprentices would be away. So this is a long term investment in my business, explained Mrs Oliver.

Queensland TAFE offers block release training for Certificate III in Appliance Servicing so the time Chris and James would be out of the business could be minimised. They wouldn’t have to drive to and from Sydney (the other option) where attending the same course would mean travelling 1,000km each week to attend class for only one day a week. And Queensland had the added benefit of Fisher Paykel delivering the training. Most of the whitegoods serviced by The Appliance Man are for the Fisher Paykel brand according to Mrs Oliver.

The window of opportunity to get her apprentices into the course in Queensland was tight because it was going to start in two weeks, with Easter in between. Missing it would mean waiting 12 months.

Besides booking into the course, there was accommodation and travel to organise, plus organising the paperwork in time. ‘In this instance, it had to be done in four days, with lots of phone calls and loads of help from Garry Whittaker at State Training Services,’ according to Granger.

The long term investment in the business is also an investment in the Riverina. ‘We are giving local guys a go,’ continues Mrs Oliver. ‘There is a fair demand for whitegoods repairs in the region and we are determined to grow. Our goal is to be the number one repairer in town; to be known for great customer service and to be bigger.’

And according to Granger, there is a huge potential for this business and its services because it has such a strong emphasis on qualifications of its staff.

Australian Apprenticeships are an Australian Government initiative.