Work has started on the $48.9 million upgrade of the Pundulmurra TAFE in South Hedland which will see the trades training activities relocated from the annex to the main campus. The sod turning occurred at the TAFE site on August 2 with Education and Training Minister Sue Ellery announcing Decmal Group would carry out the construction work. The project involves relocating the trades training activities from TAFE’s South Hedland annex to the Pundulmurra campus, where new workshops, classrooms and specialist training areas will be set up. Other facilities to get an upgrade include a new commercial cookery training kitchen and classroom to cater for high school students and jobseekers. A new state-of-the-art facility will deliver training for a wide range of in-demand trades and specialist skill areas, including heavy automotive, heavy mobile and fixed plant and commercial cookery. It comes as Ms Ellery opened the South Hedland Jobs and Skills Centre at North Regional TAFE’s Pundulmurra campus. The centre will provide free professional and practical advice on training and employment opportunities, including career guidance, apprenticeship and training information, help with job searching and direct links into work. The facility is supported by Aboriginal organisation Bloodwood Tree, to help Aboriginal people across the Pilbara with accessing training or jobs. Ms Ellery said the works were a significant project for the Pilbara. “Extensive consultation was carried out to ensure the expanding trades training meets the specific needs of employers in the region, while increasing training capacity to meet local demand for more skilled workers,” she said. Pilbara MLA Kevin Michel said the new facilities and equipment met industry standards and would lead to a significant increase in the opportunities on offer to young people, jobseekers and career changers. Construction is expected to be completed by the end of 2023, with training planned to begin in semester one, 2024.