Welder shortage fix

South Eastern Melbourne and Peninsula Local Jobs Program facilitator Darrell Hewton and SEMMA chief executive Vonda Fenwick promoting the welding course.

The first cohort of students from a free welding skills course in Dandenong South have rolled into employment.

The four-week course was created by the South East Melbourne Manufacturers’ Alliance (SEMMA) in response to a worsening skills shortage.

With the help of a $200,000 federal grant during Covid-struck 2021, SEMMA branched out of its advocacy role to set up the training.

On successful completion of the course, the trained-up welders were guaranteed full-time jobs.

ABECK Group managing director and SEMMA president Peter Angelico has taken on a graduate as a new employee.

The graduate was producing jig-welded parts, freeing up a higher-skilled welder to complete more advanced work.

“The skills course is designed to fill an immediate need which enables us to maintain our customer’s confidence that we can deliver in full and on-time,” Mr Angelico said.

“There are plenty of full-time positions in manufacturing, we need to bring people in with micro credential courses such as this that are specifically designed to suit what our customers need.”

During the course, Hilton Manufacturing provided formal classroom and production floor space for student welding bays. Chisholm Institute’s instructors delivered the training.

The course included a welding simulator, allowing participants to practice in a safe and sustainable manner.

It was delivered in partnership with the federally-funded South Eastern Melbourne and Peninsula Local Jobs Program.

In December, SEMMA warned a Senate inquiry of a dire shortage of welders, engineers and electronics technicians.

SEMMA states that it represents 200 manufacturers that employ 16,000 people and create $3 billion of GDP.