As the construction industry continues to grow in the region, a new pathway into the sector has opened up for Illawarra and Shoalhaven school leavers.
The six-week pre-apprenticeship program taking place at Illawarra ITeC will provide free training for 10 students in 2024.
Glenn Maybury, a NSW field officer at Mrael who will be supervising the program, said the nationally recognised qualification and hands-on training would be attractive to future employees.
"In our program, they've got six units of competency, which would normally take them nearly a year to get in an apprenticeship," he said
The group will learn about operating tools, work health and safety, and gain work experience with local employees.
Construction is the second biggest industry for the Illawarra South Coast region, with about 28,000 employed as of February 2023.
The number of people employed in the region rose by 56.3 per cent from February 2022 to 2023.
ITeC is encouraging women to apply to their construction pathway program.
Mr Maybury said without an increase in female participation across the state, there would not be enough apprentices needed to meet future demand.
"The 2022 to 2023 demographic of females in construction was 7 per cent [in NSW] of the whole cohort of trainees and apprentices," he said.
Illawarra employees are set to benefit from the program, with the pre-trained apprentices joining the workforce.
"A lot of the construction industry are looking for apprentices, but looking for good apprentices that want to commit to three or four years and make sure that they finish," Mr Maybury said.
The NSW Government-funded program has 10 spots available for Illawarra and Shoalhaven school leavers aged 16 to 26.
Each participant will be given a tradies starter kit including safety boots, gloves, hi-vis, glasses and ear protection.
The program will run three days per week and is open to school leavers who are either Australian residents or have a working visa.
Students interested can contact Glenn Maybury at email@example.com
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