Mai-Wel Enterprises are furniture making with TAFE!

Supported employees working in the Timber Manufacturing team at Mai-Wel Enterprises have been turning their practical skills into vocational certification as they begin working towards a Certificate II in Furniture Making!

Some time ago, staff at Mai-Wel Enterprises met with TAFE NSW to identify programs that could help their supported employees gain formal qualifications that were based around tasks and skills they were already using in the workshop. Certificate II in Furniture Making was identified as a course that would be of particular benefit, as it could open the gateway for Enterprises to start producing and selling furniture in the workshop. The supported employees already have some experience building furniture, such as coffee tables, picnic benches, children’s sandboxes and even a chessboard. To back up this experience with formal qualifications was an opportunity that was too good to pass up!

The course started in mid-February with a group of 13 supported employees. Now, each Tuesday a teacher from TAFE NSW travels directly to Mai-Wel Enterprises to teach theory in the boardroom and work on the practical components out in the workshop. The team enjoy working with their TAFE teacher, who was previously a Support Worker at Mai-Wel Enterprises and jumped at the opportunity to head back out, visit the workshop and reconnect with the supported employees.

Two separate groups are working through the TAFE course, rotating halfway in the day between their study  and  regular duties, to ensure work continues  in the timber sheds where they already produce a range of products such as pallets, crates and more.

We spoke to Patrick, one of Mai-Wel’s supported employees who is completing the Certificate, and he told us a bit more about how he’s been finding the course.

“I’m finding (the course) very good. I like the practical side of learning through TAFE because it’s more hands on. Right now we’re learning to make push sticks, so you don’t get your hands near the blade when sawing timber.

I’m also learning all about hand tools, like the hand plane.”

If you would like more information about the industry products and services Mai-Wel Enterprises has on offer, contact us today on 4015 8900 or enterprises@maiwel.com.au. You can also learn more by visiting the Industry Products page on our Mai-Wel Enterprises website.


Pictured: (From front to back on the left) James, Christopher, Mathew, (from front to back on the right) Geremy, Drew and Tallis working around the table in the workshop for the practical side of their Certificate II in Furniture Making. 

Pictured (left to right): Tallis and Mathew sharpening a planer blade.

Pictured (left to right): Geremy setting up to hand plane a timber block. 

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