Over 100,000 construction industry jobs went unfilled in the construction industry last year, according to estimates from Workplace Relations, Health and Safety consultants and advisers Employsure.
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Skilled workers are something the construction industry desperately needs, yet is forecast to sorely lack over the next few years. In the crane industry, according to the Government’s labour market insights, the median age of workers is 44 years old, with the largest share existing within the 45-54 age bracket.
What this means is that there is a clear shortage of skilled workers in a crane industry that holds an ageing workforce. It’s because of this that Matt Nolan, an ex-crane operator, dogger, and rigger of 15 years, decided to start the Gold Coast-based High Risk Work Licensing education facility On The Job Training.
“Our drive is to push boundaries and improve the level of competence when students complete their training using innovative tools and tailored resources,” he said. “We’ve found there’s a lack of quality training available for younger people wanting to enter the workforce, and we want to help fill that void.”
On The Job Training was conceived in 2015 by Matt and his wife Emma as they saw an opportunity through their own experience to improve the quality of training for high-risk work and other accredited training. To get apprentices and trainees job ready, On The Job Training possesses 10 cranes, along with with an array of earthmoving equipment and relevant supporting access equipment on its premises. The Queensland-based training body offers a range of different courses to get younger people workforce ready, and is supported as a Construction Skills Queensland funding provider. Further helping the people who come through its doors to receive an education is real-life experience that On The Job Training tees up, providing essential experience through crane cadet programs and intensive rigging training; because, as Matt said, providing experience to the younger generations coming through is “absolutely imperative”.
“The high-risk work industry is starved of younger people coming through with high quality training,” he said. “We need to inspire younger people in the industry to ensure the future of industries such as construction, mining and materials handling can sustain themselves.”
On The Job Training offers, among other things, Earthmoving, Scaffolding, EWP, Hoist and Forklifting courses. Its latest movements, however, have come in its Crane, Dogging and Rigging courses where the company has just purchased a brand new XCMG XGC101 crawler crane.
Purchased through East Coast distributor and dealer D&D Diesel, On The Job acquired the machine in order to provide better licensing for those coming through its doors. One of the key points about this order Matt was quick to note was the flexibility and fast turnaround time offered by the manufacturer when he came to distributor D&D Diesel with his specific request.
Needing to use a crane with a Maximum Rated Capacity of over 100 tonnes for the course’s licensing needs, Matt said the request could not have been handled any smoother than by David Kapahnke – D&D Diesel’s founder and owner – and XCMG.
“This crane will allow us to appropriately train younger generations coming through our doors,” he said. “Because of the six-month turnaround time from order to receipt of the machine, we’ll be able to get the machine in action and get more job-ready people into the workforce sooner.”
Having invested in the development of a bespoke virtual reality solution with VR designers Black 6 that allows the user to work virtually with the same XCMG crawler crane, Matt says having the real thing outside will be invaluable, as operators-in-training can go from a risk-free environment to the real thing in the blink of an eye. Further to the equipment owned by On The Job training, Matt said the decision to purchase the 101-tonne crawler crane was driven by his previous experience with a 25-tonne truck mounted crane – the XCA25_E – that he also purchased through D&D Diesel.
“The 25-tonne truck crane has been a really impressive machine for us to date,” he said. “On top of its performance and the aforementioned quicker turnaround times that XCMG can provide with machines built to order, but the affordability offered by XCMG was also one of the key selling points for us.”
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Having purchased two machines through D&D Diesel, Matt’s desire to return to the Dandenong-based dealer speaks volumes for the service provided by David and the team. As expanded on in the December issue of Cranes and Lifting, D&D Diesel was a company built upon service, with other aspects of the business such as dealing and distributing being added to a foundation built on providing customers with what they need. For Matt, this is reflected in both of his experiences with David and the team.
“On both occasions, the process has been really smooth with D&D Diesel,” he said. “Each time our path has crossed with one another, the service has been easy, helpful, and direct.”
Receiving such helpful, direct service is imperative for an ex-crane operator seeking to contribute to, and better, the education process of the High-Risk Work industries because, as Matt said, On The Job Training is not a typical high-risk work specialised RTO.
“We want to help create a safer industry,” he said, “both on the ground and in the sky; and we want to do it ASAP, which is why this XCMG crawler crane, and the service surrounding it, has been second-to-none.”