The Training team at Master Builders Association of Victoria recognises that a substantial percentage of its membership resides in the regional areas of Victoria. We also acknowledge that it has been a challenge for us to provide an appropriate number of course offerings in many of these areas during the past couple of years. Recently, however, we have been making significant strides towards increasing that number.

In 2012, we offered several training courses in Bendigo, Wodonga and Geelong. The decline in the years since then was due to factors such as low enrolment numbers, the difficulty of finding available trainers in regional areas and the coordination and technical challenges associated with organising courses remotely.

Another reason for the reduced number of regional courses had been the dramatic change to the registered training organisation (RTO) reporting requirements, and this has resulted in an increased workload for the training department staff. A general shortage in training staff numbers has also been a contributing factor.

In response, our team has recently (and rapidly) doubled in size to accommodate the changes to RTO reporting, growing from eight staff members in 2012 to 19 in 2015, with more positions still ready for filling. However, as the training team has worked diligently to adapt to and accommodate these changes and new processes, including the introduction of the Victorian Training Guarantee (VTG) funding, we faced the reality of having to put a temporary halt to expanding regional training opportunities in order to ensure our metropolitan courses were running smoothly under the new procedures.

Today, having tuned our processes to the new system requirements, we now have a nearly-full team of training staff, and we are on track to resume the introduction of courses to regional Victoria, offering training to both regional members and non-members alike.

Laura Brown, who moved recently from the Membership team to take on the newly-created role of Business Development Coordinator, is working closely with Senior Logistics Coordinator Katie Tunnah to schedule and promote relevant courses in some of our more heavily-populated regional areas.

“We want to ensure our members have sufficient awareness of our regional courses—the exact dates and locations—so they can make informed decisions about enrolling themselves and their staff in our courses,” Laura said. “Our goal is to lock in the dates at the start of the semester, rather than hastily assembling a course at the last minute that does not suit members’ needs.”

The BSB30712 Certificate III in Work Health and SafetyCPC40110 Certificate IV in Building & Construction and other OHS courses, such as First Aid and Construction Induction Training/White Card, will be the first courses to be re-introduced to the regions.

“Our satellite offices are located in Wodonga, Geelong and Ballarat, and we also have training venues in Bendigo and Traralgon, so these will be our initial locations for the regional courses,” Laura explained. “We do, however, understand that Victoria is quite large, and travel times to these areas still may not suit some of our members, so we also offer the option of onsite training for large groups of employees who would like to train. We can come to you.”

With expanded training opportunities underway, the next stage of growth depends on the demand from members. Master Builders understands there is considerable interest among the regions in gaining not only Domestic and Commercial licences, but also in training in areas such as asbestos awarenessWhite CardFirst Aid and other management and leadership courses. Accessibility is of key importance to us, but we need members to make the demand for it. Your feedback and suggestions are critical to our success in serving you.

For any feedback or requests for information, call Master Builders’ Training Department [RTO number 3935] on (03) 9411 4555 or consult the Master Builders Training website.