Creating a construction skills legacy
“One of the highlights of my job is watching the trainees grow. A lot come in as school kids, often they’re quite shy, and over the two years of their traineeship I see them grow and develop. Others come as part of Indigenous trainee programs or as long-term unemployed, however regardless of how they join us, everyone is a new entrant to our industry and it‘s rewarding for me to see them acquire the construction skills and confidence they need to succeed.”
Rebecca Britt is a Training Development Manager for CPB Contractors, currently delivering the Rozelle Interchange, part of the WestConnex motorway project in Sydney. She leads our Training Academy at Homebush, an accredited training facility established in 2016 to meet the unprecedented demand for skilled workers arising from Sydney’s construction boom.
The academy was the first of its kind and designed to support multiple CPB Contractors projects underway in the same region. The model was so successful it’s been replicated in Victoria and Queensland and CPB is looking to expand the concept further.
“My career started in safety, but I’ve been delivering training on major construction projects for ten years. The best thing about working in construction is the teamwork. Every project is different, but what is the same is that everyone works together to achieve a common goal. I get to know all the superintendents and what their training requirements are.”
“When I’m selecting a new group for the school-based traineeships, I always meet with both the kids and their parents because I want to get to know them and understand their commitment. I treat them as individuals and place them where I’m sure that the different personalities will all get along.”
The trainees go to school three days a week, spend one day at the Training Academy to gain a Certificate II in Civil Construction, and one day working on a construction project.
At the end of Year 12 they get their HSC, their Certificate and have had two years of real experience in the workforce.
As well as supporting the school-based trainees, the Training Academy has onboarded and inducted over 42,000 people from a variety of backgrounds, achieving the following training and development milestones:
- More than 600 full qualifications (including Certificate IV and Diplomas)
- More than 1,600 high risk work licenses (eg Working at Heights, Mobile Elevating Work Platforms etc)
- More than 11,000 first aid certificates
- More than 4,500 earthmoving plant statement of attainments
- More than 30,000 accredited safety training statement of attainments
- 155 accredited HVNL chain of responsibility statements of attainment issued
Rebecca says that the COVID lockdown has meant that all face-to-face training has been suspended, but the Academy is still doing what it can via webinars.
“Not having people there, using our equipment and specialist set up, reminds me of how valuable a facility like this is. Hopefully we can all resume normal operations soon.”