Sea change for ex-factory workers

Tuesday, 28 October 2008

A group of workers laid off when Mitsubishi’s Adelaide plant closed earlier this year underwent retraining at Challenger TAFE's WA Maritime Training Centre – Fremantle and emerged with new sea-going careers.

The six workers completed a component of their training at the Centre and will gain an Integrated Rating qualification following further training at sea.

Marine Operations lecturer, Dave Hume, praised the workers commitment and said they are the first of over 900 ex-Mitsubishi workers to have been employed following a retraining program.

“All the guys were keen to embrace the training and all did exceptionally well, which is evidenced by the fact that to date they are the first of the retrained workers to gain employment, thanks to shipping companies, TK Tankers and ASP Ship Management” he said.

“The course involved a partnership between Challenger TAFE and Transport Distribution and Training South Australia (TDTSA). Invaluable support was provided by the Maritime Union of Australia (MUA), and the Department of Further Education, Employment, Science and Technology (DFEEST) in South Australia.”

The Program Officer at TDTSA, Tim Hutchinson, said the high quality of training was crucial in ensuring the success of the retraining initiative.

“Everyone involved is singing the praises of the College’s maritime training, particularly Dave’s efforts. Many of the guys have young kids and have been away from home for 15 weeks, so the supportive training environment was invaluable,” he said.

“It was quite an intensive collaborative effort to put the program in place, and the assistance from Challenger TAFE, the MUA and also the employers has been excellent.”

For Volker Sildatke, who was laid off in March, the retraining and subsequent employment presents exciting new opportunities.

“This is an opportunity for a fresh start, no doubt, and one I’m looking forward to,” he said.

“I was with the company for 24 years and have no hard feelings about being laid off, it’s just the way things are. I’m just looking forward to the change of direction.”

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