Lifetime of learning
Case Victoria recently successfully won a tender to supply Victoria University Polytechnic in Werribee with five brand new earthmoving machines for its students to operate and gain their industry certifications
Victoria University Polytechnic took the delivery of two Case excavators, two skid steers and a loader in mid-May and Victoria University Polytechnic general manager manufacturing, technology & trades Paul Sadler says he couldn’t be happier with the relationship the Polytechnic has forged with Case Victoria this year.
"We only opened our doors in September last year, so it was important for us to choose the right people to go into partnership with when we went out to tender looking for an equipment supplier that would be really supportive of what we are doing," he explains.
"Our goal really is to fill the gap that currently exists within the skilled workforce and we also really wanted to bridge the gap between students and the wider construction industry.
"We were looking for a genuine partnership with a manufacturer, not just someone to buy a few machines off.
"Case Victoria really came to the party in terms of showing real engagement with what are setting out to achieve here and that’s was vital in our decision to go into a partnership with them ultimately.
"It wasn’t about price and it wasn’t transactional, what we needed was a solid partnership and that’s what Case Victoria offered and proved to us."
The campus itself is a hive of activity, with real industry engagement and collaboration at its heart.
"We offer training for numerous trades here including civil construction. At the moment were doing Certificate IV for John Holland in civil supervision and civil operations for their administrative people," Sadler says.
"John Holland needed a training partner in Melbourne’s western suburbs and we were the closest training provider to the West Gate Tunnel Project zone that also had the right capabilities. We formulated a comprehensive training plan with them and it all just came together. They have 300 people to put through a tunnelling qualification so we are assisting with that.
"The big thing we did for John Holland around excavation is that we actually built them a tunnel.
"The half-scale tunnel we have constructed on-site here is unique in Victoria and can be filled with smoke so that we can practice a tunnel rescue; [allowing students to] become familiar with the environment they will be going into and practice things like doing clean-up work with excavators after the tunnel boring machine has been in there.
"We would like to position ourselves to become a tunnelling training centre of excellence and that’s something we will be working towards.
"We have confined spaces and working-at-heights training areas and we will have a room with some virtual reality excavator simulators very soon too, so that our students become comfortable with the controls before they ever set foot in a real machine and we had some of those simulators running during our showcase back in March.
"The Victorian Government also asked us if we could offer a 12-day skills-uplift course, which is not a qualification, but a series of competencies put together as a skill set.
"The Certificate II in Civil Construction course that we offer goes for about 12 weeks, whereas the Cert III and IV courses take a year.
"People doing their Cert III come away with their tickets to operate plant equipment: dozers, excavators, skid steers and rollers.
"Whereas with Cert IV the focus is more on learning to become leading hands and supervisors on site, so that is catered to people who are already working in the construction industry, but want to upskill and this is where we have the most students enrolled at the moment.
"Currently we have a total of close to 200 students doing a range of courses, from John Holland as well as general population.
"We have other industry clients beside John Holland such as BMD and Rocon; who are going to be putting their staff through Certificate IV traineeships.
"We are likely to have around 350 students by the end of this year."
A BIT EXTRA
Victoria University Polytechnic Certificate III in Civil Construction [Road Stream] course tutor Mark Grimes says he is very pleased with the brand new fleet of Case machinery to use on campus and that he has students from a good mix of backgrounds enrolled.
"Some of my students are young and straight out of school effectively and others are older and looking for a career change, so that’s really encouraging to see," he reveals.
"I try to teach them a little more than most training organisations. They get their tickets but also everything right through to the safe operation of basic power tools and calculating loads manually, and I think that’s important.
"I am really pleased to have the eight-tonne excavator because that’s a little larger than most training organisations use and that will give our students a bit of extra confidence in being used to operating machines larger than five tonnes."
Case Victoria territory manager Nick Colbert says it’s a privilege to be working with Sadler and the wider Victoria University Polytechnic team and supporting them in their efforts to train and upskill the next generation of construction industry leaders.
"It’s a relationship that goes both ways," Colbert explains.
"We get the benefit of their land and training facilities and they have our full support and backup as a reliable and responsive equipment supplier."
Case Victoria and the Polytechnic teamed up back in March to host the institution’s inaugural open day, where people within the construction industry and the wider community was invited to experience what the Polytechnic is doing in an fully interactive way.
"We will be doing this open-day type industry showcase every year and it’s a great way to engage with people from outside the Polytechnic community and for them to showcase the new 52 hectare campus, which is really impressive," Colbert says.
"We are really thrilled to have won the tender and to be working with them to bring through that next generation of construction professionals."
Sadler shares that sentiment; saying the turn out to the Victoria University Polytechnic showcase event in March this year was impressive, with local politicians and an estimated 300 industry representatives in attendance and Case playing its part with an impressive array of the latest machinery on demonstration on-site.
The first round of Cert IV Civil Construction graduates will graduate from in November this year, and you can be sure that Earthmovers & Excavators magazine will be at the Victoria University Polytechnic for the occasion.
You can also follow our updates by liking us on Facebook.