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Nailing construction instruction with community benefit

TAFE Queensland teachers like Charles bridge community benefit and student learning through innovative approaches to assessment and community need.

Charles provides support and encouragement, demonstrating the best way to approach a timber join, while supervising the TAFE at School students at TAFE Queensland's Kingaroy campus.

As the trainer and assessor for the Certificate I in Construction (CPC10111), Charles explains that his students learn more than just being on the tools. They gain the transferrable skills that a carpenter might look for in an apprentice, which separate a tradesperson from someone who's just interested in building.

“It’s not just what's in the workplace, such as changing blades on drop saws to fixing nails that are somewhat bent in a nail gun, a big part of it is communication as well. How do you talk to your peers? How do you communicate to your supervisors and trainers?”

The passion for his craft and students is clear, as Charles describes what the industry is looking for in a tradesperson.

“We want to be able to give the industry students who've had their hands-on experience; but not just tools and equipment and materials and projects, but also important social skills such as working in a group. When things don't work out and they don't go to plan, the students need to problem-solve it.”

Students studying the Certificate I in Construction (CPC10111) learn to read and interpret plans and specifications, measure and perform calculations, handle construction materials, use construction tools and equipment and undertake a basic construction project.

Sustainability and a sense of community are also important lessons that TAFE at School students learn while completing their qualification. As part of their studies students work together to craft picnic tables, which not only allows Charles to assess their techniques and progress, but is a great way to give back to the local community.

“We make the picnic tables available to schools on an as-needed basis,” Charles said.

“The motivation behind this approach is sustainability of using untreated timber products. We use an exterior seal that is appropriate for food, playgrounds and kindergartens, where the timber isn't going to harm people.”

Students can be assessed on nearly 90 per cent of competencies based on a picnic table build, from interpreting plans, to workplace health and safety, risk assessments, technique, finish and the correct use of tools and equipment.

A General Safety Induction (White Card) is also delivered as part of the course, which is an industry requirement to work on a Queensland construction site.

In addition to the community benefit from the construction works undertaken by the students, Charles advocates that while also being useful, it provides students with a sense of ownership and the students learn a lot from it.

Thanks to industry-current TAFE Queensland educators like Charles, the South Burnett can be assured that the region's future looks bright, with the youth of today getting the skills they need to build a solid foundation for tomorrow.