No training wheels required

We were able to walk straight out into the workforce with all of these skills that people had spent many years working in their trade learning as an apprentice

Many employers know that the cost and time involved in fully training a new employee can be almost prohibitive. Especially with the ever-present possibility of that person leaving for another job and taking all of that training with them. Graduates who are therefore properly trained and "work-ready" can have a significant edge over their non-trained or lesser-trained counterparts.

Award-winning Hunter Valley winemaker, Lisa McGuigan, cites this as the principal reason that, when looking around for new employees, she often turns to TAFE.

[quote]"There are no training wheels required if you've studied a course at TAFE. Because of this, I've often turned to TAFE as a place to resource new people for my business." - Lisa McGuigan[/quote]

A TAFE graduate herself, Lisa believes TAFE's ability to consistently produce graduates who are work-ready is because of the organisation's close connection to industry. When Lisa first enrolled at TAFE in Newcastle in the mid 1980s, she was struck by the high calibre of the teachers and how many of them were current industry professionals.

"I just couldn't believe there were so many professionals working, teaching as well, giving their skills to students like myself and they just knew everybody," she says. "Every time you had a bit of difficulty with an assignment they could put you in touch with someone who could give you the real experience out in the field so that you got a greater understanding of the areas you were studying and which you wanted to specialise in."

Lisa believes that the principal advantage of being taught by industry professionals is that they teach with the latest standards in mind – standards that many people already working in the industry are still trying to reach. "We were able to walk straight out into the workforce with all of these skills that people had spent many years working in their trade learning as an apprentice," she says.

Based on her own experiences of being a work-ready TAFE graduate with "no training wheels", Lisa knows that each time she canvasses TAFE for new employees, she doesn't need to look anywhere else. "My business needs people who are ready to go and I know that I'm going to get people who can actually do that when they come across into the workforce," she says.

"They're realistic and they don't think they're going to have their own private office and drive an Audi. They realise that they're going to work up to that. They're willing to do the hard yards. And that's realistic. It's that realistic approach that I've loved about what I learn at TAFE."

If you're interested in learning more about wine and winemaking courses, visit the Intuition Wine stall at Sydney Cellar Door in Sydney's Hyde Park this weekend, 27 February - 1 March. Lisa McGuigan will be at the stall between 12.30 and 2.30pm, Saturday 28 February.