TAFE NSW - Western Institute started a new Certificate IV Civil Engineering course this year attracting 16 students from 11 different local government councils across western NSW, NSW Roads and Traffic Authority (RTA) and professional civil engineering firms.
There is a shortage of qualified engineers and after consultation with local government councils, Central West Regional Organisation of Councils (CENTROC), the RTA, and Geolyse Pty Ltd, it was realised a new course could provide an opportunity for existing staff members in those organisations to become qualified engineering design technicians.
The course which started at the beginning of 2007 involves students attending the Bathurst TAFE for three days each month. The teaching model includes extensive input from industry speakers who frequently contribute superb teaching resources and equipment which would not normally be available in a TAFE institute. The RTA has also loaned an extensive range of surveying equipment for teaching purposes.
The Civil Engineering students also have to complete workplace based projects under the supervision of qualified engineers and the Institute provides a Workplace Mentor who visits each workplace once each semester to assist with designing workplace projects that are also used to support the assessments and also to ensure students are gaining sufficient workplace experience .
At the beginning of the course each student is assessed with regard to existing knowledge and qualifications to enable those with extensive knowledge or skills to gain recognition for specific units of competency. Certificate IV in Civil Engineering is an intensive course which can be completed over two years.
Skills covered in the program include, civil design drafting, basic surveying, materials testing, civil construction and project management. The Institute ensures good tutorial support with telephone and email communications when needed.