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Trade jobs appear to be surviving despite the downturn

29 January, 2009

Choosing to study a trade may be the way to stay employed during the economic downturn with a recent study finding that there is still a shortage of labour in some trade areas.

A new quarterly survey, released by the Clarius Skills Index in December 2008, shows that skill shortages are at their highest levels since 2001, despite the economic downturn and rising unemployment.

Metal, automotive, building and construction trades were in the top ten trades where there were more jobs than workers.

According to the survey, there are 1.275 million trade-related jobs, but only 1.214 million skilled workers available to fill them.

SkillsTech Australia is the lead TAFE institute for trade and technician training in Queensland. Managing Director Steve Ghost says SkillsTech Australia is a vital tool in addressing the skills shortage.

"An initiative of the Queensland Skills Plan, SkillsTech Australia is the Queensland Government's response to the skills shortage which is modernising the way trade and technician training is delivered in Australia."

"SkillsTech Australia is a relatively new name in the training market, but draws its credentials from the TAFE Queensland network, long acknowledged as the leading trade and technician training provider."

The first phase of its formation, from 2006-2010, involved a merger of six Brisbane TAFE campuses into SkillsTech Australia.

SkillsTech Australia's main training centres are at Acacia Ridge and Eagle Farm with satellite training centres at Alexandra Hills, Bracken Ridge, Ithaca, Loganlea, Mt Gravatt, Salisbury, South Brisbane and Yeronga.

The Queensland Government is investing $81.6 million in the new state-of-the-art SkillsTech Australia training centre at Acacia Ridge and $53.5 million upgrading the Eagle Farm training centre.

The second phase of SkillsTech Australia's formation, from 2008-2010, will see two new training centres built in Townsville and Mackay while existing centres at other regions will be refurbished.

In addition to its strong credentials, SkillsTech Australia is developing modern, flexible, training programmes using modern, industry-preferred equipment.

The Furnishing/Cabinet making programme at Acacia Ridge uses the latest digital wood machining equipment and a modern foundry offers some of the most up-to-date foundry training facilities in Australia.

SkillsTech Australia has a sustainability focus, both in the programme content of trade and technician training and in the day-to-day operations of training centres. This year a new renewable energies diploma will be available and there are plans to incorporate sustainability-related competencies into most trades including electrical, plumbing and automotive.

Programmes have been designed in close consultation with business and industry, ensuring industry-relevant skills and knowledge for our graduates.

As well as apprenticeships, SkillsTech Australia offers pre-apprenticeship programs for learners of all ages, including school students, Certificates I-IV (including post-trade qualifications), Diplomas and Advanced Diplomas, short courses, and customised training programs.

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