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TAFE NSW Orange trains workers on the frontline of local road projects


TAFE NSW Orange trains workers on the frontline of local road projects

A TAFE NSW qualification has a former cleaner on the frontline of a new career keeping workers and drivers safe on major construction projects in the Orange region.

54-year-old Michelle Turnbull is one of a group who recently completed the NSW Government subsidised Traffic Control Skillset qualification at TAFE NSW Orange, which is designed to meet the rising demand for local traffic controllers driven by projects like the $50 million Mitchell Highway safety upgrade.

“I’ve been cleaning for 20 years and my body’s a bit too old for that now,” said Ms Turnbull. “I needed more skills to change careers and knew there would be a demand for workers supporting construction here in Orange.

“The TAFE NSW traffic controller course was an affordable way to retrain and gives you good experience with some real-world hazards you’ll face, like drivers who disobey stop signs. We learned how to communicate with the other end and create an incident report.

“The teachers gave us those challenges so we would understand the risks, because traffic control is a lot of responsibility.

TAFE NSW Team Leader of Transport and Logistics Graeme Moat said traffic controllers are needed anywhere the flow and speed of traffic has to be modified or directed, and the popularity of the course reflects the major road work and construction projects happening locally.

“You drive through at least five kilometres of roadworks as you enter Orange. With big works and construction happening all around the region there was significant interest in this course to build up the local traffic controller workforce,” said Mr Moat.

“We are teaching practical traffic management skills, like monitoring and managing the flow of traffic, but ultimately what we’re teaching is how to keep drivers, pedestrians, and workers safe.

“In traffic control, there aren’t a lot of minor incidents if something does go wrong.”

The three-day Traffic Controller Skillset course includes job-ready units focused on communication, work health and safety, and controlling traffic with stop-slow bats, portable traffic control devices, and temporary traffic signs. At the successful completion of the training, graduates apply for a Traffic Controller licence.

To enquire about enrolling in the Traffic Controller Skillset for Urban Streets and Low Volume Rural Roads short course at TAFE NSW Orange, call TAFE NSW on 131 601.

Media contact: Amy Johnson, TAFE NSW Communications Specialist,