THE first sod has been turned on the $10.2 million first stage of the planned CQUniversity TAFE Centre of Excellence at the Rockhampton North campus recently.
Minister for Training and Skills Development Di Farmer joined CQUniversity’s Vice-Chancellor Professor Nick Klomp for the occasion and a site inspection.
Once complete, Stage 1 of the TAFE Centre of Excellence will cater for 350 students in the construction trades, including Certificates III in Bricklaying, Carpentry, Plumbing and Cabinet Making.
The development was jointly funded through an $8.4 million investment from the Queensland Government and a $1.8 million contribution from CQU.
It will help meet growing demand for VET at CQU’s Rockhampton campus, which is set to increase by 8.6 per cent by 2030.
The new facility will also help to cater for Central Queensland’s growing construction industry, which is expected to employ more than 12,000 people (8.7 per cent of the region’s workforce) by 2025-26.
Professor Klomp was delighted to see the first stage of the project underway.
“The development of this facility is much needed in the region as local industry and the community rely heavily on skilled trade professionals to keep our economy running,” he said.
“This facility will allow CQUniversity to consolidate more if its operations on the Rockhampton North campus site, while also developing new, state-of-the-art facilities to benefit skills training and development in the region.
“The facility will deliver apprentices and trainees in the region with world-class facilities and equipment to ensure they get the most out of their training experience.”
Professor Klomp it will not only prepare people for their future careers and the needs and expectations of industry, but will also have a positive impact on their employers as apprentices will be trained to use the latest resources and technology.
Queensland-based builder WHF Group is leading the construction of the project and adjoining carpark upgrade, with up to 100 jobs created during construction.
The 6000 sqm site will include a large outdoor practical construction space, along with a 2330 sqm underroof facility that will encompass an open plan indoor workshop, classrooms, a meeting space, breakout spaces, a staffroom and office space.
The site will also house more than $1.5 million of specialist construction trade training tools and equipment.
Minister Farmer said the investment is all about providing the high skilled, highly capable construction workforce that Central Queensland will need as the population grows and demand for infrastructure grows along with it.
“Once complete, Central Queensland TAFE students intending to work in the construction industry will have access to modern training, in a state-of-the-art facility,” she said.
“Under the Equipping TAFE for our Future (ETFOF) program, the Queensland Government has committed more than $15.9 million for infrastructure upgrades at CQUniversity campuses in Rockhampton and Mackay.
“That includes the $7.5 million expansion of the trade training centre at Mackay’s Ooralea campus – doubling the size of the existing facility.
“These upgrades, and the consolidation plans for CQU Rockhampton, will enhance training capacity and respond to the needs of the local community, as well as our priority industries.”
Stage 1 of the project is expected to be completed by late 2024 to early 2025, in time to welcome students for Term 1 in 2025.
CQU will continue seeking further investment to develop Stage 2 of the project, including facilities for refrigeration and air-conditioning, metal fabrication, hairdressing and beauty, horticulture, hospitality and cookery, visual arts and information technology training.
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