TAFE NSW recently took delivery of a 55t Liebherr all terrain. The acquisition is designed to enhance the learning experience of students enrolled in the Civil Construction Certificate III Crane Operations CPC32920.
Terry Sawaqed is the Head Teacher for Civil Construction Cranes at TAFE NSW Nirimba in Western Sydney. He explains the background to the purchase of the crane and why it will make such a difference to the students. Terry and Tony’s manager, Samuel Fairweather recognised that if TAFE wanted to be taken seriously in the industry, a serious industry crane was needed. Fairweather worked with CICA and other industry partners to ensure TAFE purchased a crane that met their needs.
“Working with the Crane Industry Council of Australia (CICA) and other valued partners, we took the decision to build on the Certificate III in Cranes program. In previous years we’ve had to hire in the crane for training.
“We recognised hiring the crane in has not been an efficient way to manage the course and it hasn’t benefitted the students or the employers, because we’ve only had the cranes here on a bespoke basis. So, TAFE NSW made the decision to purchase its own 55t capacity all terrain which is a Liebherr LTM 1055-3.2. This will be a dedicated crane, permanently located in the Western Sydney Region servicing here in Quakers Hill and available for our training courses.
“We have been collaborating with CICA to encourage more trainees to sign up to the course. There are 23 units in the course, including seven high risk tickets. It’s designed for trainees, and we are hoping it moves into an apprenticeship realm which will be beneficial to employers because funding and the grants become more attractive. At the moment we are seeing a healthy advance in enrolments on the course, and they are coming from all over the state,” said Sawaqed.
At the time of launching the news of the dedicated crane, TAFE NSW had two trainees, Jake and Gary from Coffs City Cranes being put through their pace. Gary had his first experience of sitting in the seat of a crane here and hopes to use skills learnt here to benefit his employer. Tony Garard is their teacher. Tony has many years of experience in and around civil construction and cranes and is highly experienced with what it takes to achieve the required certifications.
“Having the crane here permanently means the students will get more exposure to the crane all of the time. Previously we were hiring the crane for specific elements of the course like the Crane C6 unit, we now have the crane available for the non-licensing units like communication, plant and for measurements and calculations. The trainees are in the classroom with the theory, and they are then out here with the crane putting the theory into practice,” said Garard.
“Having a crane here full time is going to make such a difference to the trainees experience during the course. Instead of having a crane here once every two years, we can now contextualise everything, bring them out hear and they can communicate via the two way radio, or work on the rigging. They are getting constant exposure to the crane which is what they need. Some trainees are working with crane companies, but they are not getting to sit in the crane and understand how everything works, because the crane is working on the site and time is at a premium, where here they can take as long as they need. The whole course is now based around the actual crane,” he said.
TAFE NSW is the only RTO in Australia to provide a full Certificate III in Construction Crane Operations in the CPC format says Sawaqed.
“Now we have the crane based here permanently, we are hoping that crane businesses right around the state and from interstate, will look at our courses and enrol their trainees in our programs. The civil construction courses are ‘block released’ which means they run Monday to Friday over 4 blocks a year.
“We have trainees enrolled in the course from all over the state, including Newcastle, the Illawarra and obviously we have Gary and Jake from Coffs Harbour. Travel and accommodation allowances are subsidised as well. The employer arranges local accommodation for the trainees,” he said.
The TAFE NSW yard where the crane operates also features a timber bridge. Trainees are able to gain hands on experience by dismantling this with the crane says Sawaqed.
“We work with the RMS which has a course on timber bridge construction. We are now able to teach trainees in a real environment as they are able to use their skills to dismantle and then build the bridge again,” he said.
TAFE NSW purchased a used Liebherr LTM 1055-3.2 with Fairweather and his team working closely with Tom Grady and Andrew Esquilant from Liebherr.
“It has been a very comfortable relationship between TAFE NSW and Liebherr. Andrew and Tom were fantastic, they were very focused on customer service, they have always had an open-door policy with us, and any questions we had they answered, and many of these were at short notice. Tony was in contact with Liebherr regularly and he never once complained that he couldn’t get an answer from them and never expressed disappointment at the service he received. And look at the crane they’ve provided us. It has low hours, low kilometres and it has been maintained meticulously,” Sawaqed said.
The Crane Industry Council of Australia has taken a very proactive attitude to the Certificate III in Construction Crane Operation course.
“Paul Arztenhofer Membership/Business Development Manager and CEO Brandon Hitch have been meeting with crane business owners to discuss and promote the course, they’ve consulted with us in terms of the course content and the whole training package. This consultative process includes the delivery of the training and the monitoring of the students and to ensure they remain on track to complete the course.
“We can accommodate 24 trainees per course and we are thinking about introducing a mid-year course if there is enough demand, so will be able to accommodate 48 over the year. As I’ve said there are seven High Risk qualifications in the course so it’s great value for money. The course is also subsidised adding even more value for crane businesses,” said Sawaqed.