Talking to Bill Spencer about the carpentry courses he heads up at TIV, including the (CPC30211) Certificate III in Carpentry one thing is clear above all else. He is extremely passionate about delivering training with real-world impact to any student who wants to learn.
Like many of the trainers at TIV, Bill comes to his work with a strong base of real-world industry experience, then falling into training a bit later in life.
“I have been in the industry for over 35 years, I mostly did renovations and extensions, all upmarket stuff, pretty much, I was a supervisor for about five years and I’m working on finishing commercial work for about three.”
“Then I had an injury and I ended up going back to school and get my training, I had the experience behind me, and I was just talking to a friend one day and it just kind of grew from there.”
That was 10 years ago, but Bill didn’t find his way to TIV straight away.
“I had a job at a few other places for about five minutes each, but they were no good.”
“I’ve been at TIV six years now, I started the carpentry course with Reif and I got given the job as the actual manager about four years ago of the cert 3 carpentries and the apprenticeships.”
When asked what made him stick with TIV he said it was the focus that the organisation had on delivering training that meant something in the real world.
“Reif wanted to develop a full-time course, so I sat down with him and we started to put the program together that was for mature age people that wanted a career change. He wasn’t really worried about a budget, he was more worried about the quality.”
“We got talking one day and he had it in his head and then him and I put it all together. That’s how we developed the course and we got funding for it.”
Another key aspect of the effectiveness of TIV’s training, according to Bill, is the patience that the trainers are given to build a course.
“The simulated worksites didn’t happen overnight. It’s taken a few years to develop, and the beauty of it is that we don’t do little scale stuff, everything is to scale, proper plans, so everything the cert 3 full-time students, whatever is happening outside we try and make it exactly the same through their teaching three days a week and yeah, just develop their skills.”
“What we’ve done is very unique, I haven’t seen one of them anywhere else. We even had people in that section of the government that came out, with John McDonald, and they even said, ‘I have never seen anything at this standard anywhere in Victoria’.”
And then there are the trainers themselves. Bill is extremely proud of the team TIV has built and says it hasn’t just happened by accident.
“I don’t hire anybody that doesn’t have 10 years’ experience. You can research all of our students and they’ll tell you the quality of the trainers that we’ve got now is the best.”
“And that’s not being biased, because you’ve got Steve that’s been in the trade similar to myself 40 odd years, and then you’ve got Shaun who’s been in the industry for 30 odd years.”
“We’re all still currently doing jobs ourselves to stay current. We don’t know everything but we’re always willing to learn, build up our skills as well so we can pass it onto the students.”
And speaking of students, Bill’s passion really shines through when he is talking about the opportunities that TIV provides students that might not otherwise be able to enter the industry. TIV has a track record of taking students from all walks of life.
“I’ve seen a lot of them. I’ve seen accountants, I’ve seen guys that just want to up-skill and turn their lives around. One of our oldest students was 52 and that surprised me but, like he said, ‘I’ve still got quite a few good years in me’. So, I’ll never stop trying.”
“And young kids that can’t get an apprenticeship, when I say that I’m talking in their 20’s and they’ve got learning difficulties like ADD and stuff like that.
These kids have got the guts to have a crack. If they’ve got the guts to stand up and try who are we to stop them? That’s the way I look at it
“With TIV, yeah it is a business, yeah you’ve got to make money, but I don’t care who they are, what they are, what colour they are, what religion they are, it just does not worry me one little bit.”
“It is the quality that we want to put out there.”
At the end of the day, Bill says TIV wants to give people the chance to make a difference in their lives. He says so many people think they’ve made their lot in life and have to stick on the path they chose, but it just isn’t the case.
“Do you want to change your life? Or do you want to go into an industry that can where you want to advance? Many doors will open to you, you don’t have to be a framer, you don’t have to be a fixer. This course opens doors that nobody else can except for yourself.”
“Whatever you put into it – it’s all up to you. We can lead you to water but we can’t make you drink.”