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Local skills boost with Airport TAFE training

26 September 2019

Workers building Western Sydney International (Nancy-Bird Walton) Airport will have easy access to training opportunities thanks to a partnership with TAFE NSW. 

The Western Sydney Airport TAFE NSW Skills Exchange has been established on the Airport construction site so workers can develop their skills while on the job. 

Western Sydney Airport Chief Executive Graham Millett said that with more than half of the Airport’s workers coming from Western Sydney, the Skills Exchange is set to be a major boost for local skills development.

“There are six years of complex construction before we can open the Airport and we’ll need a significant pool of skilled local workers,” Mr Millett said.

“We want the entry level worker who starts on a shovel to build lifelong skills that set them up for work long after the Airport is up and running.”

TAFE NSW Acting Managing Director Kerry Penton said the Western Sydney Airport TAFE NSW Skills Exchange will set locals up for success through a flexible approach to training and apprentice mentoring programs.

“This is a responsive, flexible and innovative solution designed to meet the training needs of students, employers and industry,” Ms Penton said. 

“The Skills Exchange will significantly expand our capacity to skill the workforce needed to deliver one of the nation’s largest infrastructure projects.”

The current facility is set to equip workers with skills in areas including earthmoving, civil construction, safety and traffic control. The programs offered by the Skills Exchange will adapt as the project moves from earthworks into future phases, including construction of the 3.7-kilometre runway, taxiways, passenger terminal and on-airport business park.

Western Sydney Airport is exceeding workforce targets requiring at least 30 percent of workers during construction must come from Western Sydney, increasing to 50 percent when the Airport opens. At least 20 percent of the workforce must be learning workers, such as apprentices and trainees. 

At the end of June 2019, 54 percent of the workforce was from Western Sydney and 34 percent engaged in job-related training. 

The Western Sydney Airport TAFE NSW Skills Exchange is a deliverable of the Western Sydney City Deal.

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Scott MacKillop