So, how can a computer teach a bricklayer to build a wall? Easy, just ask any young person in today’s world, and particularly a kid from the country.
The digital revolution is delivering that with the new TAFE, the leading trainer of tradespeople across NSW and Australia.
The way students are learning has changed. When TAFE NSW was established in 1833, students learnt out of one building in Sydney, studying the likes of mechanical drawing, boot, book and coach making.
When wool became a leading industry and railway and big construction projects got underway, TAFE NSW adapted again.
Today, globalisation, online learning and digitisation means TAFE students are studying futuristic courses like cyber-security and anti-money laundering, on top of traditional trades.
We will need 21,000 new construction workers in the next three years across NSW to meet unprecedented demand to build our future roads, schools and hospitals.
Construction trades enrolments at TAFE are booming; electricians are up 19 per cent and carpenters and plumbers, up 11 per cent, on last year.
The NSW Government has already invested over $12 million to roll out new state-of-the-art infrastructure Connected Learning Centres, three of them in our region: Glen Innes, Tenterfield and Quirindi.
They use modern technology so students can tap into the state-wide network of courses, campuses and teachers.
They’re complemented by extra face-to-face and mobile learning and are boosting access to TAFE NSW for our country students.
Thanks to Connected Learning Centres, a student from Quirindi no longer needs to drive hours to Tamworth to get the skills they need to get a job fresh out from high school.
Traditional tools for tradies are being complemented by digitally-enabled equipment like virtual and augmented reality and visual simulation.
TAFE has also seen expanded demand for online learning; it is now the country’s largest online provider of VET training, offering 24/7 education to nearly 100,000 students across 250 courses.
As a regional Minister, it doesn’t surprise me that 25 per cent of TAFE Digital students come from rural and regional areas.
The NSW Government invests $1.77 billion a year in TAFE, meeting market needs but also providing a vital place for our traditional tradies and we’ll continue to deliver them the training they need to get a job and build the infrastructure of tomorrow.
Adam Marshall is the Member for Northern Tablelands and NSW Minister responsible for TAFE NSW.