The Following article appeared in the Sydney Morning Herald, Sept 19th 2011
SWAPPING work on Boeing 767s for television aerials was not what 43-year-old Paul Griffiths would necessarily call career advancement.
But, after taking a redundancy from Qantas as an aircraft engineer five years ago, at least the new job presented a change of scenery.
The Jim’s Antennas franchisee has been running a successful operation from his Menai home ever since.
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Now, with new federal government funding, he will be able to broaden his expertise and move into optical fibres, with his sights set on work with the national broadband network.
Mr Griffiths is one of thousands of workers set to benefit from a $28 million training package that the government hopes will ease the skills shortage in the resource, construction, infrastructure and renewable energy sectors.
Small, medium and large businesses have agreed to contribute to the program, expected to be announced today by the Minister for Skills and Jobs, Chris Evans.
”Working in partnership with industry is the best way to target our training investment and puts industry at the heart of the training process,” Senator Evans said of the scheme, which is expected to collectively deliver projects worth more than $41 million.
”Together we can boost workforce participation and meet the demand for skilled labour.”
As a project of the $200 million Critical Skills Investment Fund, it will upskill about 7500 management and senior specialist tradespeople, with almost 1000 training places reserved for workers in remote locations.
Mr Griffiths said he would be able to upskill mostly in his own time, using online tutorials, before completing a one-week classroom training session and sitting written and practical exams. At the end of four to six months, he hopes to hold a Certificate III in telecommunications digital reception technology.
He expects to be joined by about 180 fellow franchisees across the country.
”It hasn’t been a mandatory thing, but I think most of us will do it. It’s a great opportunity to upscale our skills.”