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Building on-site relationships with coffee

TAFE Queensland visits construction sites to connect tradespeople with training opportunities and industry stakeholders while providing coffee and breakfast.

TAFE Queensland Business Manager (Projects), Bill Alexion, had big ambitions when he first joined the organisation. Coming from a vocational education background, Bill was well aware of the skill shortage present in the building and construction sectors, and had the unique idea to bring training opportunities and support directly to busy worksites.

Bill worked with his TAFE Queensland colleagues to put into concept a mobile coffee and BBQ van that would travel Greater Brisbane visiting work sites to offer free coffee and hot breakfasts. While onsite, the team is on hand to discuss training opportunities directly with tradies, subcontractors and employers.

Equipped with a commercial grade espresso machine and two BBQs, Bill and his team have been visiting work sites for six years now and the hard work is definitely paying off. Their presence onsite has enabled the team to forge new working relationships while providing information on apprenticeship pathways, upskilling, higher-level qualifications, funding options, and enrolments.

The Mobile Coffee and BBQ van team are proud to be supported by a raft of trade industry partners includingincluding Apprentice RecruitBolleKennards HireTrade ToolsMakitaMilwaukeeDial Before You DigDanger Sun OverheadQLeaveCBUS SuperannuationKomatsu and Uvex. These partners not only contribute to the running of the van, but are also available to assist workers and employers stay informed on their industry.

The mobile coffee and BBQ team are also present at many trade related and community events throughout the year. These have included the industry breakfasts, student and apprentice training days, and various charity events. The team is also a strong supporter of Mates in Construction and regularly fill their onsite donation tins for the organisation.

Bill said that both employers and tradies seem to really appreciate their presence and the advice that our partners can provide.

“We receive questions ranging from flexible training options, Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) pathways to industry specialists referrals,” said Bill.

“We often discuss the different funding and financial incentives that are available to both the employer and the tradie. It’s also a valuable opportunity to obtain feedback directly from the worker to find out what their training requirements are, helping us to structure our future business models around the needs of a busy tradesperson and employer."

“Tradies, subcontractors and employers are generally so time poor that coming to them onsite just works. It’s way more convenient to have information come to them, rather than them having to find time to come to us."

“We find that many of the employers and tradespeople we speak to are not aware of the different methods of training delivery that TAFE Queensland can offer. We can offer training in the workplace, online, on-campus and even through mobile study centres,” he finished.

These free site visits have provided Bill and his team with the ability to converse with many employers and tradies they otherwise may not have met, and this has resulted in many of these new contacts discovering new and convenient ways to upskill themselves and their employees.