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New flexible learning

For stainless apprentices

Posted 23rd September 2009

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At the beginning of 2008, ASSDA was successful in its application for funding from the Federal Government for a project focused on the integration of e-learning into industry. The funding has seen ASSDA create a Workforce Development Strategy and a Flexible Learning Delivery Pathway incorporating e-learning, with plans to develop an additional e-learning module titled Practical Skills of Surface Treatment to complement the existing Gas Tungsten Arc Welding Module.

The Workforce Development Strategy provides an industry-wide framework in which to address the workforce challenges for the stainless steel industry: skills shortages, staff retention, knowledge retention. This document assisted ASSDA in defining what the industry requires in training, skills development and the retention of employees.

The body of the project sees ASSDA working in conjunction with SkillsTech Australia and multiple industry partners to develop e-learning as a form of theory training for apprentices aiming to acquire their qualification in stainless steel fabrication.

ASSDA created a Flexible Learning Delivery Pathway that gives apprentices and employers the choice of conducting training both online and within the workplace. This form of training is beneficial to the apprentices as they are able to work at their own pace, in a location of their choice and in a nonthreatening learning environment. For the employer the pathway is economical as the apprentice can conduct their study in the workplace, therefore reducing time spent away from the workplace.

Using ASSDA’s Stainless Steel Specialist Course and existing resources within the TAFE system, SkillsTech Australia has developed an e-learning system based on the required competencies for a qualification in fabrication, with a particular focus on the unique requirements of working with stainless steel. These training modules offer learning through video, audio, text, images and interactives that are interesting to the apprentice whilst teaching them the underpinning knowledge they require to develop a skill.

In March 2009, 12 apprentices were inducted into the e-learning program for Stage 1a at SkillsTech. This stage is now complete and feedback from the apprentices has been extremely positive. Stage 1b has now commenced and will see the apprentices training solely within the workplace with a workplace mentor to oversee their theory training and instruct them in their practical experience.

This is an exciting development aimed at positioning e-learning as the training method of choice within the stainless steel industry and will help meet ASSDA’s goal of building a strong workforce with a focus on quality and innovation.

If you are interested in viewing the Workforce Development Strategy or learning more about the learning options becoming available for apprentices, call ASSDA on (07) 3220 0722.

This article featured in Australian Stainless magazine - Issue 46, Winter 2009.