Register now for The 4th Australian Regional Development Conference this September, held at Novotel Coffs Harbour Pacific Bay Resort.

Mr Ron Wright, Project Director Civil Construction and Infrastructure at TAFE NSW Kingswood will be at this year’s Conference, presenting “Building skills with concrete results for nation building”.

Building Skills With Concrete Results For Nation Building

Ron Wright


This presentation is designed to showcase radical approaches to solving complex skills and workforce development challenges in large-scale general and civil construction projects. It will identify the multiple overlapping objectives of such projects and map out the evolution of two specific training models over the last five years. It will provide individual case studies that demonstrate the positive impact on employment for local communities and achieving project deliverables for construction firms large and small across the country.


Through separate partnership initiatives across the state in the last 5 years, TAFE NSW has established a ground-breaking model that has changed how workers engage with training, how employers’ workforce development needs are met and how local communities benefit.

The model features the following sophisticated interlinked series of offerings and features that meets the complex business and operational needs of large multi-billion dollar construction projects.

A skills exchange procures, coordinates and report on all aspects of skilling and training and operates as a one-stop shop for learning, combining the needs of hundreds of small and large contractors.

Partnering with various training providers provides a “best of breed” skilling solution and there is a highly collaborative approach to supporting local and often disadvantaged workers by providing everything from foundation skills in literacy and numeracy and highly specific equipment operating skills to apprentice mentoring to retain apprentices, high risk licence training, trades skilling and safety leadership development.

A mobile ’pop-up’ implementation reflects industry practice and industry need, including the design, construction and roll-out of transportable containers converted into classrooms that can be used on-site for theory and inclement weather training.

There is significant utilisation of simulated worksites established on land provided by partnering local councils or construction stakeholders, thus allowing entry-level trainees to gain highly practical and work-safe skills on specialised equipment typical to large scale construction projects.

This model is working across infrastructure projects in the Tweed Valley, residential developments in the Illawarra and high rise construction in Parramatta and the Sydney CBD and case studies include multi-billion dollar construction projects such as the North Coast Pacific Highway upgrade ,Calderwood Valley Estate, Barangaroo and Darling Harbour.


The presentation will describe tangible results around the development of human capital, job readiness programs and pre-employment pathways for people from social disadvantaged and under-represented groups into the construction industry and on the job VET based Learning models with trade qualification outcomes.

Also described will be a range of sustainability skilling outcomes (environmental, cultural, wellbeing and safety programs), partnerships with public and private training and other service providers, local councils and government agencies and civil construction management companies like Lendlease, Pacific Complete, Walker Group and others.

Specific results described will include the improving of apprenticeship completions rates in construction to 85% compared to a National average of 47% and over 13,000 workers gaining formal skills training, and over 20,000 accredited training outcomes.

The presentation will also provide tangible results like the delivery to enterprises and projects of a supply of skilled workers and capability development for a safer, adaptable, competitive industry workforce.

The 2017 Conference will focus on issues surrounding the Economy, Planning, Environment and Community Development while considering the “State of the Regions Report” which called for support of regional economic development through diverse infrastructure investments determined by regional priorities in partnership with Local Government. 

There will be an extensive range of topics with over 50 Featured and Expert Presenters, Concurrent Sessions, Case Studies, Workshops and Poster Presentations.

Find out more about what’s on for this year here.