NBN has partnered with 10 TAFE and training providers in a bid to address a skills shortage of 4500 staff ahead of the rollout of its multi-technology mix network.
The new campaign, called Career Start, is part of NBN’s $40 million industry workforce development program, which aims to increase the rollout workforce to a peak of 9000 staff, and will also see NBN create a national skills register.
The campaign hopes to attract around 2000 school leavers to take up a career in telecommunications, with training and employment for successful candidates to be delivered through an NBN contractor or sub-contractor.
Participants will have access to training paths to certificate II or III telecommunication qualifications, with NBN promising long-term career opportunities in maintaining the network once the initial rollout is complete.
While older workers will be welcome to apply for the campaign, NBN said it plans to launch a second campaign targeted at experienced telco workers or mid-career industry changers in the near future.
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Key skills to be targeted include telecommunications copper cable jointer and linesworkers. The network builder revealed to a recent senate hearing it had purchased 1800 kilometres of new copper to be rolled out in fibre-to-the-node deployments.
Training providers participating in the campaign include ASG Integracom Management Group, Blue Sky Academy, Careers Australia Institute of Training, Celemetrix Professional Services, Chisholm Institute, Federation Training, Holmesglen Institute of TAFE, JB Hunter Technology, Ramsden Telecommunications Training and Programmed Skilled Training Services.
In a statement, NBN CEO Bill Morrow said a large proportion of the Australian telecommunications industry workforce was set to retire in the next five years.
“Without the Career Start campaign, we believe that we would be potentially staring down the barrel of a telecommunications skills shortage in Australia,” he said.
The most recent NBN corporate plan warned the skills shortage posed a risk to the roll out, operation and maintenance of the NBN’s MTM network.
“This could have a direct impact on the rollout timelines and quality assurance, but more importantly on take-up and revenue,” the corporate plan warned.
The announcement comes just weeks after NBN released its three-year construction plan, which aims to have deployments either underway or completed for 2.8 million premises in NSW, 2.5 million premises in Victoria, and 1.9 million in Queensland by September 2018.