There are now more than 600 traffic controller job vacancies across Victoria and the bite is being felt in the south-west.
Feedback from local industry has helped South West TAFE to develop the five-day course which is planned for Warrnambool, Portland, Hamilton and Colac.
Southwest Traffic Control operations manager Anna Moloney welcomed the course, saying the company struggles to find local, well-trained employees, quickly when larger projects come in.
“This will assist us in hiring skilled traffic controllers, trained not only to a curriculum, but with well thought-out practical skills,” Ms Moloney said. “Demand for traffic controllers is very high, as government funding into road and infrastructure projects fuels rapid growth across these industries.”
“Where big projects require a large increase in employees quickly, it is often faster to hire from other regions where potential employees have better access to courses.”
“We’d much prefer to hire local people, and having them trained at South West TAFE, with a course that we have input to for focus on specific skills sets, will be great.” Ms Moloney said.
She added that there were opportunities to make good money in the industry, particularly on long jobs requiring night and weekend work.
Course developer and teacher Alistair Wilby said it was introduced after a need was identified in the local area.
“It’s hard for local companies to find employees so there’s a definite market for work in the area,” Mr Wilby said.
People working as a traffic controller are required to undertake traffic management training and as most roadwork sites are considered construction sites, they also require a construction induction card
The training includes OH&S, first aid, using a stop/slow sign, setting up traffic management plans and broader entry-level skills to work in the civil construction industry.
It is available free to eligible students under the Victorian Government Skills Uplift program to get unemployed and under-employed people into the workforce.
“We try to keep training as realistic as possible to make sure students are well prepared when they go onto a roadwork site,” Mr Wilby said. “It’s an important role to ensure safety,” he added.