Let’s get connected – Implementation of the Civil Skills Cadetship (CSC) Program

by Sonya Casey, Civil Skills Workforce Development Manager, Civil Contractors Federation (CCF)

CCF Victoria, in collaboration with the civil construction industry and RTO/TAFE partners has begun implementation of the CSC Program.  The construction sector accounts for almost 240,000 jobs and 8.2 per cent of Victoria’s workforce. The civil construction industry contributes $21.6 billion annually to the economy and is vital to Victoria’s future.

The Victorian State Government announced a $1.925 million investment under its Workforce Training & Innovation Fund (WTIF), Skills First initiative, towards the development and delivery of a new Civil Skills Cadetship (CSC) Program. The successful WTIF grant funding, demonstrates the State Government’s confidence and commitment for CCF Victoria to drive the rollout of the CSC Program to support skills development for the civil construction industry.

CCF Victoria is developing and refining the structure and content of the CSC Program. It is working with the CSC Industry Working Group to ensure the learning activities, case studies, workplace assessment projects, including the integration of technology platforms reflect the skills development needs of current and future civil construction workers. The CSC Program will be delivered over a two year period targeting 120 cadets seeking a career in civil construction.

What’s in it for employers?

The CSC Program is founded on cross industry and selected core nationally endorsed units of competency. These units are clustered into theme areas, supported with learning experiences and assessment requirements, reflect the realities of entry level work tasks carried out on a civil construction site. 

It is a capacity development opportunity for all stakeholders involved: targeted participants, Civil Industry Mentors, Lead Facilitator, Registered Training Organisations and TAFE, including relevant Victorian Government departments. The CSC Program puts the learner/participant at the center of the program. Learner(s) support, relationship building and practical experiences at the actual workplace site provides participants with the entry level skills needed to hit the ground running.

We acknowledge the urgency to rollout meaningful and relevant skills development programs for the civil construction sector. The implementation of the CSC Program is in response to the lack of supply of entry level employees who are both suitable and ready to work in the civil industry.

The CSC program will assist tier one and subcontractors to meet workforce demands in order to achieve infrastructure contract deliverables. Major infrastructure projects, valued over $20 million, are expected to meet a requirement that ten per cent of those employed are represented as apprentices. This requirement is being filtered down to subcontractors.

How does it work? What options are available?

The CSC Program is built using a four staged approach. This approach provides opportunities for participants to exit at each stage into a subsector of civil construction or into an alternative career.

An important development feature of the CSC Program is at Stage One: Recruitment and Selection. Traditionally, the recruitment process, for a participant(s), has not been an entry point for training in the past. Training providers are usually engaged in careers information sessions and broad careers advice.

Stage One

Formalises the career decision-making process with the findings of a career assessment technology platform, BrilliantFit. This approach aligns to encouraging the participant to own their career decisions and individual capacity development program.

Stage Two

Builds on a conservative approach to vocational training and education through the selection of cross industry units of competency.

Stage Three

The Certificate III in Civil Construction, core units of competency are facilitated at Stage Three. The CSC Program has built into its design, strong foundation skills, such as literacy and numeracy skills, which are also important for entry level workers in the civil construction sector.

Stage Four

Stage Four incorporates Civil Industry Mentoring, to support participants as they enter into a career in civil construction as an apprentice.

The modes of delivery include video and workplace assessments to reinforce techniques, concepts and workplace practices. Pivotal to ensuring the CSC Program stimulates interest and positive experiences, the integration of civil mobile plant equipment simulators and virtual reality training opportunities to assist with ensuring participants are ready to safely and confidently operate entry level equipment, such as a skid steer and excavator. The design of the program is not new, however, within the context of training in the civil construction industry, this is an innovative approach.

The approach of the CSC Program provides an opportunity for participants to also exit at all stages. If a participant decides to exit at any of the stages, this can be considered successful with foundation skills developed being transferable within employment.

It is widely acknowledged that training delivery that ensures relevant industry content, two-way communication, active participation in learning activities, self-directed and supported learning are more likely to ensure positive experiences for participants.

This program is led and endorsed by the civil industry, incorporates support structures for participants, including industry mentors. Collaboration between industry and the training system is crucial for developing a dynamic and skilled workforce, the CSC Program is centered on what industry needs to meet the workforce demands to deliver critical major infrastructure projects in Victoria.

The CSC Program will lead the shift from traditional approaches associated with the delivery of civil construction training, to connecting job seekers, industry employers, industry mentors, learning support advisers, facilitators/assessors and industry specialists, to develop the entry level skills needed. A job seeker who becomes employed, in a role that fits their capacity and capability, changes the lives and future possibilities and connections of children, partners, friends, family and community.
About Civil Contractors Federation (CCF)

Civil Contractors Federation (CCF) is a peak industry body representing Australia’s civil construction industry with more than 2,000 contractor and associate members nationally and over 520 of these based in Victoria.

CCF Members are responsible for the construction and maintenance of Australia’s infrastructure, including roads, bridges, pipelines, drainage, ports and utilities. Our members also play a vital role in the residential and commercial building industry by providing earthmoving and land development services, including the provision of power, water, communications and gas.

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