Building links with China

If you were offered a two-week tour of China as part of your study what would your answer be? For six lucky Central Building and Construction students the response was a resounding ‘yes’.

In recent times, China has become an economic powerhouse. Its rapid expansion has lead to massive development and diversity in construction and infrastructure. Great news if you’re a Central Building and Construction student.

Central has delivered courses in China for ten years and continues to expand its portfolio.

In June this year, Building and Construction Lecturer Maxine Plowright led the group of students through several cities in China as part of the AsiaBound Grants Program.

The aim of the tour was not only to explore Chinese architecture and culture, but to encourage interaction and build relationships between Central and two Chinese institutes – Jinhua Polytechnic and Jiangsu College of Engineering and Technology.

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The tour began in Jinhua (in the Zhejiang Province), before exploring Shanghai and Jiangsu (in the Nantong Province). Stella Bu, Central’s representative in China guided the students with support from students from the two institutes.

During the diverse and eye opening tour, Central students explored a broad range of architectural styles in China including Gothic, Romanesque, Baroque, Classicism and Renaissance.

In addition to learning about the diverse range of architecture in China, students learnt about Chinese culture, including calligraphy, woodcarving, and most importantly, how to make the perfect dumpling.

Central remains committed to seeking international experience for our students.  The broadening of opportunities, coupled with the exposure to new skills, is an invaluable learning curve for students before they embark on their subsequent careers.


Building the building industry

Regional home-buyers will benefit from additional numbers of local builders following a successful alliance between Central and Master Builders WA.

The Master Builders Association of WA (MBA) realised that many employees in regional areas faced difficulty becoming independent Registered Practioners as they simply could not access the appropriate training.

To become an independent Registered Building Practioner you need two things:  sufficient construction industry experience and the appropriate formal qualification.

Without the accreditation you can’t run a building business, you can only supervise one. To become accredited, builders require a Diploma of Building and Construction as a minimum.

The Diploma qualification was primarily taught in metropolitan Perth, geographically and logistically out of the reach of the regional construction workforce.

Seeking a solution, the MBA approached Central to investigate the possibility of regional delivery.   Central duly assigned a trainer and established training centres at MBA premises in Geraldton, followed by Albany.

Bringing the training to the prospective builders has enabled the locals to begin their journey to becoming independent Registered Building Practioners.

The lecturer, Central’s Gavin Brackenreg, visits each region once a month and the students have two days of intensive training and some coursework that they must complete before the next visit.

Gavin delivered training to 20 people in Geraldton and 11 in Albany and following 18 months of hard work the groups have now graduated.  This brings to 50 the total number of students trained by Central through this program.

One of the Geraldton group, local builder Craig Johnston, was delighted to finally have the chance to get the official qualification.

“For nine years I have been wondering how I could access this qualification.  Travelling to Perth for it was just impossible”, he said.

“The group was incredibly appreciative of Gavin coming to our region for two days of training every month.  He even made one of those days a Saturday, which meant the guys did not have to be away from their business for two weekdays, which was fantastic.”

Director of Housing and Economics at the MBA (WA), Gavan Forster, is one of the architects of the program.

“This initiative between Central & Master Builders has brought the ‘mountain to Mohammed’  and allowed local contractors to obtain the required qualification by working and studying in their home town.  Ultimately, local home-buyers will benefit from a greater number of local builders in the regions,” he said.

Following the initial success of the program, Central and the MBA are investigating the possibility of expanding to include a training hub in Bunbury.

Any budding builders who wish to find out more please contact Julie Smith at Central on (08) 6211 2165 or or contact the MBA.