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How TAFE NSW is 'engineering' a skills shortage solution

TAFE NSW West Wyalong

How TAFE NSW is 'engineering' a skills shortage solution

SKILLS TO PAY THE BILLS: West Wyalong welding apprentice Zac Sharpe says the guidance of his TAFE NSW teachers gave him a headstart in the industry.

6 September, 2019

A West Wyalong engineering business owner has credited TAFE NSW with helping address the skills shortage afflicting the industry.

CB Engineering owner Chris Bishoff has just put on his third TAFE NSW-trained apprentice at the business, which manufactures ute trays and trailers in steel and aluminium.

It comes as a report by the Federal Government’s Department of Jobs and Small Business found there has been a shortage of structural steel and welding trades workers in NSW for three straight years, a shortage felt even more acutely in regional areas.

“It is really hard to find capable, qualified people out here,” Mr Bishoff said.

“I’ve only ever gone through TAFE NSW with my apprentices and they’re always well-trained.”

One of those apprentices, Zac Sharpe, 18, said the guidance of his TAFE NSW teachers and Mr Bishoff had given him a “running start” into the industry.

“The TAFE NSW teachers are great; they know so much and are always so happy to help,” Mr Sharpe said.

“The industry really appealed to me as I like the idea of constructing something and seeing the end product.

“I could be sitting at a computer all day but you’d feel like you have nothing to show for it in the end. What I do is very satisfying.”

It can also be lucrative.

A landmark report this month from the Grattan Institute found a 25-year-old TAFE NSW graduate is more likely to be earning more, earlier in their career, than an equivalent university graduate.

TAFE NSW Head Teacher of Metal Fabrication Mark Silk said the course offering was in response to feedback from the business community.

“In speaking with local employers, some are just starving for staff,” Mr Silk said.

“There are so many jobs out there across the Riverina and there’s certainly money to be made for qualified engineers.

“There are plenty of employers willing to pay over and above the market rate to get a good person out here.”

To find out more about studying at TAFE NSW, phone 13 16 01 or visit

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