Over 1000 tradies in 20 years

1999: Newcastle MBA decided to assist the building industry as well as the community at large, with the formation of an organised scheme to maintain the number of tradespeople in the local regions. Photos: Supplied.
1999: Newcastle MBA decided to assist the building industry as well as the community at large, with the formation of an organised scheme to maintain the number of tradespeople in the local regions. Photos: Supplied.

A Newcastle branch of the Master Builders Association was established 1874.

In 1902 the builders in Newcastle informed their parent association in Sydney that they wished to become an independent and autonomous organisation; a request that was granted.

In 1909 the Newcastle NSW Master Builders Association became a member of the Master Builders Federation of Australia.

In 1928 they commenced construction of their first official headquarters.

In 1969 Newcastle's first exhibition village was constructed by the MBA in Queen Street, New Lambton.

Among other historical highlights, they launched their Group Training Organisation in 1999.

"MBA recognised 20 years ago that we were coming into a trade shortage even back then," says Brett Lester, general manager of Newcastle MBA Group Training.

To help address this emerging issue, the short and long term goal of the apprenticeship scheme is to maintain the number of qualified tradespeople in the local regions.

The scheme works by taking on suitable apprenticeship candidates for all the building trades like carpentry, plumbing, bricklaying, electricians, painting and decorating, floor and wall tiling and gybrocking/rendering, and then providing them to businesses.

Those small and large businesses will have qualified tradespeople to work with them, but they may not have the capacity to commit to any one apprentice for the full term of their training.

All building trades.

All building trades.

Starting in 1999, over the following 12 months Newcastle MBA Group Training had quickly grown to have 100 apprentices.

Mr Lester says that for the theoretical aspects of training "TAFE has been a good partner of ours, and is our opted RTO for apprentices."

In terms of geography, they serve the Newcastle and Hunter region as well as reaching as far south as Woy Woy on the Central Coast.

"Since we started we've put over 1000 tradespeople into the system."

They currently have 180 apprentices across all the relevant trades, and in terms of what the building and construction industry needs for the future - both locally and nationwide - Mr Lester says a lot more apprentices could be put on.

In addition to the apprenticeships, Newcastle MBA Group Training also have people undertaking traineeships in Office Administration Certificate III and Certificate IV.

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