Our History

Our History

When Central West Group Apprentices (now known as Skillset) was started on 25th January 1982, it committed itself to creating new training opportunities and to make a significant impact on the skills shortages affecting the region. Now 30 years later the issue remains a persistent problem, a problem that requires new and creative solutions.

It’s not only about skills for the booming sector of our economy, but it’s about the technical knowhow to keep our region flourishing. It’s about skills for now and anticipating the skills for the future.

But it’s not a new challenge, in the early 1980’s there was a disturbing trend of declining numbers of tradespeople being trained in Australia. The Bathurst Chamber of Commerce had discussions about the lack of skilled tradespeople in the Bathurst and Orange area.

In response to this shortage, with the help of the then Bathurst Orange Development Corporation, a steering committee was formed that established Central West Group Apprentices Ltd. The ACTU-Lend Lease Foundation was set up to promote the scheme and gave it initial financial support, along with both state and federal governments.

CWGA was established as a not-for-profit company with a board of directors from the member organisations of Bathurst City (now Regional) Council, Orange City Council, Parkes Shire Council, Blayney Shire Council, Lithgow City Council, Southern Mitchell County Council (now Essential Energy), Bathurst and Orange Chambers of Commerce.

Ron LeBrocque was appointed as General Manager and in its first year 22 apprentices were employed including three young women.