DM Civil Steps Up Training Opportunities

August 2020

In line with our peak industry body, the Civil Contractors Federation WA (CCFWA), DM Civil continues to offer training opportunities to our staff. CCFWA is lobbying our state government to consider re-classifying Certificate III Civil Construction traineeships to apprenticeships. This is a part of an effort to raise the status of civil construction training to that of building and mechanical trades that have historically enjoyed a higher profile than our operators, drainers and crew supervisors.

The decline in the number of trade apprentices being engaged in recent years coincides with the drop off of business activity. This could also be seen as a failure of government policy on both sides of politics to maintain this important training ground and has a negative effect on all industries including civil construction. The lack of trained and qualified tradespeople and what this means for Australia as a nation and for us, the civil construction industry, will result in a severe shortage of talent and that shortage may be starting now. The hard times that Western Australian business has endured has meant that the industry has been unable to maintain staff training positions, let alone remain solvent in so many cases.

DM Civil has always maintained a policy of adding people at a junior or untrained level and relying on our experienced core staff to support and nurture the talent that these newcomers bring to us.

An example of our trainee scheme is our apprentice boilermaker/welder, Brennan. Brennan has been with DM Civil since November 2018 and is being trained by our steel fabrication team under Adam and Craig. Adam is our lead boilermaker/welder and is in charge of fabrication for our projects including our trenchless division work. Both Adam and Craig take on the responsibility of assigning work to Brennan and overseeing his progress while providing task specific training to help this young apprentice progress on his path to becoming a qualified tradesperson in years to come. This hands-on training under experienced tradesmen is essential to teaching our youth the correct techniques for welding and fabrication duties. This applies to the craft itself and as importantly, the work ethic that is required to properly fulfil the duties of a tradesperson.

Since joining DM Civil after completion of his high school studies, Brennan has progressed in his short time with us to become a useful member of his team in the fabrication workshop. As an example of his progress to date, Brennan is showing the capabilities required for refurbishing auger flights that have been misshapen during the trenchless division’s bore and jack operations. This required heating and reshaping of the auger flights back to their original level and alignment and grinding back the leading edges after manipulation to ensure the continuity of the spiral.

Another recent example of Brennan’s progress was his work on refurbishing a set of 3 kibble frames, originally configured for mining operations. The kibbles were first disassembled and stripped back to bare metal. Then, new stop gates, lever connections, handles and springs were designed and fabricated in house to render the units as working kibbles with their new designs to suit our field operations. After a coat of paint, the kibbles are now fit for work and in use for our field crews. The refurbishment of these kibbles, which were destined for the scrap heap, are a fine example of the value of having in-house capabilities to design, fabricate and repair our own equipment. This capability extends to all areas of our plant and equipment fleet and is applied to our mechanical workshop with its staff of fitters and technicians.

We are proud to have Brennan in our team of tradespeople and we encourage him and our other apprentices and trainees to progress and we wish him luck in completing his studies and internship to become a qualified tradesperson.