Construction has begun under 25 per cent workforce restrictions on a new Learning and Library Hub in Warrnambool, funded by the Victorian Government and built with the assistance of Warrnambool TAFE students.
The first sod has been turned on the $20.25 million facility, which will expand capacity for more people to study, learn and socialise – with the new library to be four times larger than the existing SW TAFE and Warrnambool libraries, featuring study and meeting rooms, exhibition areas, a digital media zone, computer areas and a café.
Victorian company A.W. Nicholson was appointed to build the facility, which has been supported by $16.3 million from the Victorian Government, $3.12 million from Warrnambool City Council and $830,000 from SW TAFE – with the project expected to be completed in 2022.
The project will make sure young locals have a chance to gain vital real-life industry experience – with apprentices and trainees from SW TAFE to make up 10 per cent of the construction workforce, working alongside local builders, plumbers and electricians.
Minister for Training and Skills Gayle Tierney said it was exciting to see construction start on the Learning and Library Hub – "which will be a great facility for students and the community and provide important, on-the-job experience for the next generation of construction workers".
Warrnambool Mayor Vicki Jellie said it was fabulous to see the project start.
"It’s a great partnership between Council, TAFE and the Victorian Government and really exciting to know that TAFE students will be actively involved in creating what will be a wonderful outcome for the whole community,” Cr Jellie said.
Council CEO said the construction phase of the library project was always going to be a great boost for the city’s economy.
"And even more so as we look to recover from the impact of COVID," Mr Schneider said.
"There’ll be lots of trades involved and money invested locally as the library – which will become an iconic building - takes shape.”
The Learning and Library Hub is part of the Government’s $33 million Big Build Apprenticeships program, which will provide 1,500 opportunites to Victorian apprentices and trainees each year for four years to kickstart their careers on some of the state’s largest projects, including the new Footscray Hospital and the North East Link.
The program gives students a direct pathway from the classroom to the workforce, and supports employers by enhancing the state’s pool of highly skilled workers.
School leavers and young people are encouraged to apply, with priority given to workers who were affected by the coronavirus pandemic, disadvantaged Victorians and those under-represented in the construction industry.
TAFE CEO Mark Fidge said the library was a huge investment in the future of Warrnambool and strengthened the link between South West TAFE and the community by providing state-of-the-art facilities and exciting learning opportunities for local people.