A new education and training program in Ballarat is working to fill the region's skills shortage gaps and provide a pathway out of unemployment.
Not-for-profit employment agency Westvic Staffing Solutions and Federation University TAFE launched the Prep4Work program on Monday.
Sixteen unemployed people from 18 to 60 years of age will participate in the pilot engineering training program that begins on April 29.
Federation University, Westvic Staffing Solutions and industry identified agriculture and automotive industries as other skills shortage areas. Training programs for these industries will run later this year or next year.
There has been a lot of growth in manufacturing locally and businesses are finding it challenging to find suitable people to work in their industry, particularly engineers.Leanne Parker, Westvic Staffing Solutions
Westvic Staffing Solutions general manager Leanne Parker said it was hoped the training program would boost the number of capable employees with entry level and transitional skills.
"There has been a lot of growth in manufacturing locally and businesses are finding it challenging to find suitable people to work in their industry, particularly engineers," she said.
The 15-week training program includes three weeks of work experience with three different employers, to maximise the opportunity for work placement within the industry after the program's completion.
It also includes employability training and a focus on breaking down barriers to work like transport.
The Prep4Work program, funded by the Victorian Government's Workforce Training Innovation Fund, will be based at Federation University TAFE's SMB campus.
Participants will focus on skills in welding, fabrication, thermal cutting and forming and shaping metal, and will receive a Certificate II in Engineering Studies at the program's completion.
The program will run four days a week for 15 weeks.
The launch comes after Committee for Ballarat announced jobs and training as a project team that will develop a marketing campaign for career opportunities and an attraction strategy for the region.
General manager at recruitment agency JK Personnel Tim Walshe told The Courier in February skills shortages were jeopardising business' growth, with particular shortages for skilled boiler makers, fabricators, welders, fitters and engineers in the region.
"The doomsday scenario is a business thinks the Ballarat community can't supply them with the people they need and then they move," he said.
"That would have a catastrophic impact on a lot of people in Ballarat that are on that lower end of the employment market and could potentially be out of work overnight. If good strategies aren't put in place long term to avert that kind of thing then it could happen."
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