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Earning a crust: Pizza oven course a perfect 'taster' for the trades

TAFE NSW Wagga Wagga

Earning a crust: Pizza oven course a perfect 'taster' for the trades

11 February, 2019

It’s one of the planet’s most unifying forces, crossing cultural and social divides, and “topping” the list of the world’s most popular foods.

It’s pizza and there’s no better way to cook it than in a wood-fired pizza oven.

With that in mind, TAFE NSW Wagga Wagga is offering a unique short course which gives students a taste-test of the metal fabrication trades while they learn to build their own pizza oven.

The Statement of Attainment in Fabrication (Basic) is a fee-free, one-night-a-week course that runs for 15 weeks and arms students with the skills to make their own full-sized pizza oven to take home with them.

More importantly, it can act as a pathway into an apprenticeship and a career in the trades.

TAFE NSW Wagga Wagga Head Teacher of Metal Fabrication and Welding Paul Ams said the course was an ideal “taster” of a trade where job opportunities were varied and plentiful.

“It’s a great starting point to get a young person engaged in the trade,” Mr Ams said.

“The mining boom has created a lot of jobs in metal fabrication and there are other jobs all over the place.

“A lot of females are now coming into the trade and it really suits someone who is hands-on and enjoys the satisfaction of creating something.

“There’s also the opportunity to progress to the engineering side once you’ve finished your apprenticeship.”

Mr Ams said the Certificate III in Engineering – Fabrication Trade was a popular apprenticeship course across TAFE NSW locations in the Riverina.

According to the Federal Government’s MySkills data, an impressive 96.8 per cent of graduates of the Certificate III in Engineering – Fabrication Trade were employed or in further study.

TAFE NSW Wagga Wagga Metal Fabrication Teacher Col Everett said previous incarnations of the Statement of Attainment in Fabrication (Basic) course had proved popular and attracted a diverse range of students – from ex-military personnel to working mums.

“It gives students a taste of a range of skills, including welding and metal fabrication,” Mr Everett said. “Everyone works as a team and at the end of the course, we’ve built 18 pizza ovens and everyone gets to take an oven home.

“It’s a great way for people to pick up some new skills and meet new people.”

Local ex-serviceman Richard Salcole completed the course last year and described it as an “extremely worthwhile” experience.

“It was a real bonding experience for us all and was a great way to learn something new and develop your hand skills,” Mr Salcole said. “I was using equipment that you don’t use in everyday life, like a plasma cutter and a rolling press.

“Col was an excellent teacher and took the time to get to know the students and identify their different weaknesses and strengths. The ovens are incredible and a handy piece of equipment to have in the backyard.”

Mr Everett has been teaching metal trades at TAFE NSW for more than 30 years and has almost 50 years experience in the sector.

To find out more about the course, call 13 16 01 or visit

Media contact: Daniel Johns, TAFE NSW Media and Communications – Business Partner, 6938 1441, mobile 0477 722 428.