Final class graduates from Australian trade school
The Australian-run Trade Training School (TTS) at Multinational Base Tarin Kot graduated its final group of students on March 16.
The graduation ended an era in which Australian engineers trained, mentored and advised Afghan students and their instructors, beginning with Reconstruction Task Force 1 in 2006.
During its history, the TTS ran more than 40 courses and more than 900 students have gained life-changing trade skills.
Their graduation certificate, training and experience allow them to gain employment with Afghan construction businesses.
One of the 33 students who graduated with the last TTS class was Khan.
During the 124 days of tuition, Khan and his class mates learnt skills in carpentry, tiling, concreting, plumbing and painting.
“I decided to do the training because I wanted to do something for my future,” Khan said.
“When I go back to where I live, I want to work with others in a workshop to learn more, as I am now a professional person and they will want me to work with them.
“I would also like to start my own plumbing business one day.”
TTS supervisor Warrant Office (WO) Kelvin Baulch said the training benefited graduates and improved their future employment prospects.
“If the students of this course didn’t attend the training, they would most likely be working on an Afghan building site digging holes and labouring, earning $5 a day,” WO Baulch said.
“After completion of their training here, local contractors now can employ them as a tradesman’s assistant and they can earn up to $20 a day, which is great for them and their families,” he said.
In his other role with the Provincial Reconstruction Team Uruzgan’s Managed Works Team, WO Baulch has seen TTS graduates working in the community.
“As part of travelling around Uruzgan province visiting building sites, I’ve seen past students and the tool kits we issue them,” WO Baulch said.
“This gives me a sense the community has benefited from what we have done at the TTS and now past students can stand on their own two feet and deliver quality works,” he said.
Sapper (Spr) Steven Mlinaric, a carpenter and supervisor to the Afghan course instructors, said as part of his job he got hands on with the tools and passed on his knowledge. He also ensured the tools were serviceable and there were enough materials to work with.
“Working with the Afghan kids was the most satisfying part of my job here. They are eager to learn and have a sense of humour. It was also interesting to learn about their culture,” Spr Mlinaric said.
Afghan TTS instructor Amel Jan graduated from one of the first courses in 2007 and passes what he learnt from more than six years of experience on to students.
“It was a feeling of happiness for me having been trained by the Australians and now I am working with them. It’s a good feeling,” Amel Jan said.
“All the people of Uruzgan should be busy with their work and learn something,” he added.
Course graduate Hayatullah, otherwise named by the TTS Australian advisors as “Drop Saw”, for his straight and square hand-sawing skills, said he had a bright future after completing his training.
“The reason I wanted to learn new skills was I wanted to be something and someone for the future,” Hayatullah said.
“My favourite part of the course was carpentry. When I graduate from here and get older, I want to have my own shop for carpentry, plumbing, painting or tiling.”
From mid-year, trade training will be continued by a new Uruzgan government-run training provider based in Tarin Kot.