When Stakeholder Relations Manager, Bill Alexion joined TAFE Queensland he had big ambitions. Coming from a vocational education background, Bill was well aware of the skill shortage among the building and construction sector and brought with him a unique idea to bring training opportunities and support directly to busy worksites.
The idea was to create a mobile coffee and BBQ van that would bring food and training opportunities to Brisbane worksites. While the van is onsite the TAFE Queensland team is on hand to discuss training opportunities direct with tradies, subcontractors and employers while they enjoy a free coffee and hot breakfast.
Equipped with a commercial grade espresso machine and two BBQ’s, Bill and his team have been visiting work sites for four years now and the hard work is definitely paying off. Their presence onsite has enabled the team to forge new working relationships whilst providing information on apprenticeship pathways, upskilling, higher-level qualifications and funding options.
The Mobile Coffee and BBQ team often partner with trade industry specialists such as Apprentice Recruit, Bollé Safety, Trade Tools, Makita, Milwaukee, AEG, Dial Before You Dig, QLeave, CBUS, and Elson Plumbing Services. These partners not only chip in with the coffee and hot breakfasts but also provide industry-relevant information on super entitlements, leave allowances, and the latest trade industry products.
The Mobile Coffee and BBQ team are also present at many trade-related and community events throughout the year. These have included industry breakfasts, student and apprentice training days, and various charity events. The team is also a strong supporter of Mates in Construction, regularly filling their donations tin on site visits.
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 pathways, to industry specialists referrals," Bill said.
"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 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 delivery that TAFE Queensland can offer. We can offer training in the workplace, online, on campus and even through mobile study centres.
"Feedback from industry has been overwhelmingly positive. Last year alone, we engaged with over 20,000 industry trade professionals face to face, visited over 200 worksites, served over 20,000 cups of coffee and cooked over 40,000 sausages," he said.
The site visits are a free service that TAFE Queensland offers and has proven to be great way to reach out to tradies, contractors and employers. It has also been a great way to build new relationships and engage with industry on a regular basis.
Contact us to book a visit by the TAFE Queensland Mobile Coffee and BBQ team.