Building workforce to build new Bridgewater Bridge

Michael Ferguson, Minister for Infrastructure and Transport

The Rockliff Liberal Government is getting things done by delivering the key infrastructure our growing State needs, such as the new Bridgewater Bridge.

More than 50 job seekers new to the construction industry have fast-tracked their knowledge base as they prepare to work on Tasmania’s biggest transport infrastructure project.

The final eight participants in the New Bridgewater Bridge Pre-Employment Program today wrapped up their week-long course delivered at TasTAFE’s Clarence campus, which has included units from the Certificate II in Civil Construction, as well as information about health and safety and a life skills session.

Construction contractor, McConnell Dowell last year initiated an Expressions of Interest process for employment in the project’s pre-cast concrete production facility and erection teams, with 145 jobs available in these areas at the project’s peak.

This presents a unique opportunity to introduce new participants to the industry, many who have little or no experience in construction.

The program, developed by McConnell Dowell, funded by Keystone Tasmania and delivered in partnership between TasTAFE and Lifeline, has focused on socially and economically disadvantaged Tasmanians and has included people new to the workforce, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, recently arrived immigrants, long-term unemployed and those looking for a career change.

Minister for Infrastructure and Transport, Michael Ferguson, said a project the size and scale of the New Bridgewater Bridge presents many challenges in terms of workforce capacity, skills, training and employment, and attracting new people will increase the long-term skills and capability of the construction industry.

“Many of the Program Graduates will be employed in the project’s purpose-built pre-cast concrete production facility in Bridgewater, where the 1,000 concrete segments needed to build the bridge will be produced,” Minister Ferguson said.

“A key benefit of setting up this facility locally, in Bridgewater is the job and training opportunities, particularly for low skilled and unskilled workers.”

Minister for Skills, Training and Workforce Growth, Felix Ellis, said alongside upskilling Tasmanian workers, the project will support more than 800 direct and indirect jobs and will importantly create more than 200 new jobs for Tasmanians, with a quarter of those for people in the Brighton, Derwent Valley and Glenorchy municipalities.

“In addition to the pre-employment program, 49 people have been referred to the Job Ready Fund for personal protective equipment and to gain their construction White Card, while seven participants have taken advantage of the Area Connect program to assist with transport to the program,” Minister Ellis said.

“Participants employed by the Project will have a clear pathway to complete their Certificate II in Civil Construction, delivered by TasTAFE.”

The production of the first concrete bridge segments is due to start soon, and the project remains on track to see cars driving on the new bridge by the end of 2024.

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