THE owner of one of Ballarat’s leading building companies says he owes everything to the TAFE course he took in 1984.
But now with TAFE funding set to be slashed across the state, including at the University of Ballarat where he studied, Rob McMaster says it is a blow to the industry.
“There’s a trade shortage across all areas in Ballarat, so for there to be more pressure and less TAFE places, it’s only going to put pressure on the whole industry,” he said yesterday.
“The industry won’t survive without good qualified people.”
After completing a four-month pre-apprenticeship at UB in the 1980s, Mr McMaster finished his apprenticeship in three-and-a-half years.
He went on to run his own business for about 20 years before establishing the G.J. Gardner Homes franchise in Ballarat about three years ago.
Mr McMaster said TAFE gave him the perfect introduction to the industry, with experienced teachers and a positive learning environment.
“I wouldn’t be in this industry for starters (if it wasn’t for TAFE),” he said. “I’ve gotten off the tools in the last five years but I wouldn’t have been in a position to own this business now if it wasn’t for a TAFE education, and getting the necessary skills to be able to run a business.
“TAFE was the start of my career. Up until that point I had no carpentry experience, and I have never been out of the trade since.”
Mr McMaster said the TAFE cuts could lead to a skills shortage.
“It’s definitely tough enough for people to find a good tradesperson now,” he said.