For the first time in Australia, an apprenticeship designed specifically for elevating work platform (EWP) mechanics has been developed and is expected to be available for the start of 2013.
The Elevating Work Platform Association (EWPA), Mona Vale, New South Wales, Australia, has spent the past 18 months developing content for the apprenticeship which has been made possible via the relationship between the newly formed Auto Skills Australia (ASA) and the EWPA.
The EWPA is the peak representative body of the access industry in Australia and strives to improve safety and service standards throughout Australia. Auto Skills Australia is the body responsible for the development and maintenance of nationally accredited automotive training qualifications in Australia.
The draft apprenticeship qualification is now in its final stages of approval with the ASA and the EWPA anticipating its finalization by the end of this year with first courses to be offered by TAFE and apprenticeship training centers for the start of 2013.
The access industry-driven training program arose from industry demand for trained and competent persons responsible for EWP maintenance.
“Currently there are three or four relevant mechanical qualifications, but none specific to EWPs,” EWPA NSW President, John Glover said.
Glover, who also is national service manager for Force Access, has been working on the draft apprenticeship program with Phil Middleton, EWPA’s training director, and Phil Newby, EWPA’s executive director.
“Mechanics training to service EWPs can currently undertake training as a plant mechanic, a mechanical fitter, heavy off highway vehicles mechanic or light vehicle mechanic.
“Elevating work platforms are highly specialized pieces of equipment and being classified as high risk equipment, include many safety features which require expert maintenance knowledge,” Glover said. “It is very clear our industry needs a more focused apprenticeship that is relevant and specific to EWPs.”
The draft apprenticeship program, “Certificate III Automotive Technology — Elevating Work Platforms,” draws on training or learning modules relevant to EWPs from existing mechanical qualifications.
“The EWPA would like to take this opportunity to thank the team at the ASA with a special thank you to Stephen Wrathall for taking on the challenge of creating an apprenticeship for our industry,” Glover said. “This means our industry-specific EWP apprenticeship program will attract much welcomed government funding, making it so much more affordable for our industry to train and employ fully qualified EWP mechanics.”
The new apprenticeship is part of the ongoing development of careers in hire implemented by the Hire and Rental Industry Association (HRIA).
“Being able to offer an apprenticeship to school leavers or adult learners helps to make our industry more attractive and is a huge step forward for our careers in hire program,” Glover said.