Ahmed Elmahmoud and Tiffany Lucas are trainees on a large-scale construction project – the building of the new South Melbourne Vertical Primary School. They are receiving training and guidance alongside valuable on-the-job experience. This is made possible by the Major Project Skills Guarantee, which ensures at least 10 per cent of the labour hours on major infrastructure projects is completed by apprentices, trainees and engineering cadets.

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In Victoria the number of apprenticeships, traineeships and cadetships has been declining. Skills shortages are now being addressed through providing strong incentives to the construction industry to train young Victorians on the job. Jobs Victoria's Major Project Skills Guarantee promotes a strong and sustained vocational training culture through our construction industry, enabling business to employ apprentices, trainees and engineering cadets.

The Major Project Skills Guarantee uses Victorian Government building and infrastructure project contracts to stimulate and enhance employment and vocational training for Victorians. This is achieved by ensuring that major public works in Victoria use local apprentices, trainees or engineering cadets for at least 10 per cent of the total labour hours. Since January 2016 this guarantee has created more than 1,500 opportunities on major projects.

One of Victoria’s major current projects is ADCO’s construction of the South Melbourne Vertical Primary School. This award-winning project will accommodate up to 525 students when it opens in 2018, and will be the first vertical school in Victoria. Through the Major Project Skills Guarantee, ADCO has employed 37 cadets and trainees for this project, opening up opportunities for young workers to gain valuable work experience and on-the-job training in the construction industry.

Ahmed working in the site office.

Ahmed working in the site office.

Ahmed Elmahmoud and Tiffany Lucas are Junior and Assistant Contracts Administrators on the project, both bright young talents looking forward to enduring careers in their chosen industry.

Ahmed has been working at ADCO for two years as Assistant Contracts Administrator. He found the job after completing his university studies. He is enjoying the challenge of the position and being able to take ownership of the role whilst being supported by ADCO’s senior managers and guided by the training modules.

Growing up in the northern suburbs of Melbourne, Ahmed was aware of the difficulties his community faced in getting education and work opportunities. He was determined to break out of that cycle, not only for his own career, but also to set an example to young people in a similar situation. “For me it’s not just an individual goal that makes you successful, it’s a collaborative effort,” Ahmed says. “If everyone’s flourishing, in any aspect of life, that will give you more success and cause the community as a whole to develop together.”

Tiffany on site at the South Melbourne Primary School.

Tiffany on site at the South Melbourne Vertical Primary School.

Many young graduates find it a struggle to break into the construction industry, without job experience. The Major Project Skills Guarantee encouraged ADCO to take on more trainees, and as Ahmed says, “[this] gives you a platform to break into an industry, the fact that having this guarantee ... is such a great initiative to give individuals a role, to enter into the industry."

Tiffany has been working for ADCO for five years, beginning in the accounts department and then being offered a training opportunity. She is now studying at night alongside her work on ADCO’s projects, and is half way through a two-year traineeship.

“I never thought I would thrive on it so much,” says Tiffany, who loves the challenge and the scale of the projects she works on. On the South Melbourne Primary School project ADCO has three trainee Contract Administrators and a Senior Contract Administrator who is mentoring them.

“Not only do they want to train their staff up,” she says,” but it’s a requirement as well, which is really good for young people to be able to get those opportunities.”


Find out more about the Major Project Skills Guarantee

Find out more about the South Melbourne Primary School project