Western NSW farmers have received various qualifications and skills through drought relief courses being offered by TAFE NSW.
The courses deliver training which provide qualifications such as a Statement of Attainment in Introduction to Welding, which is done through a metal fabrication Mobile Training Unit [MTU].
Metal fabrication teacher Darryn Blanchard often travels with the MTU to towns from Bourke, Warren, Nyngan to Brewarrina and Dunedoo.
Mr Blanchard said the MTU is an innovative way TAFE NSW is helping to address skills shortages in rural areas.
"Farmers understand the value of upskilling their young workers, so I get a lot of young people.
"These courses give them more confidence, improve their self-esteem and work ethic, and teach them important safety techniques and skills to ensure they can use equipment safely," Mr Blanchard said.
Merino wool producers Helen and Waldo Ponder who live near Bourke recently completed their Statement of Attainment in Introduction to Welding.
Mrs Ponder said before the training she had never used welding machinery and her husband, Mr Waldo was self-taught.
"Our fathers teach us how to do these sorts of things out here, but we've never been taught properly, so to learn from a professional teacher is terrific," she said.
Mrs Ponder said the welding truck made learning accessible for farmers who have been doing it tough.
"We're having a good season at the moment but we've just come out of a horrific drought and no one has additional funds for training," she said.
"There are people out here that haven't had an income for five years.
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"When we heard about the welding truck we couldn't let the opportunity pass us by.
"To be able to learn about the machinery we need to use on the property, and to do that in a supervised environment with a professional who has your back, is so valuable.
"We can't express how wonderful it feels for someone to come out here and bring this learning to our doorstep."
Mr Blanchard said education is essential for those in rural areas if they want to create employment and ensure regional people can find work.
For more information on the courses visit www.tafensw.edu.au.
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