Taking training to new heights

Published on 10 October 2019

Alan Gregory, the Managing Director of award-winning company Australian Training Management, has plenty to smile about when it comes to the success of his students.

Graduate Rebecca Hudson recently won WA's Trainee of the Year award after gaining a Certificate III in Mobile Crane Operations. Remarkably, Rebecca did a 180-degree career change in her mid-40s, leaving behind her human resources office job to operate tons of high tech machinery on construction sites. Today she is looking at mentoring future BHP crane trainees.

"Rebecca now has her crane high risk license, and she is now training to operate a 350-ton crane under supervision," says Alan. She is one in a long line of successful graduates to come out of the West Swan based company that is shaping WA’s future work force.
 
"All of our graduates from last year’s cohort had jobs before they left school. We have a 98% attendance rate and a 93% graduation rate. That’s something we are ultra-proud of. One of our students went on to win the 2018 Beasley Medal – I mean, that’s like winning the Brownlow Medal in AFL."
 
This year ATM celebrated its 30th anniversary. It marked more than the company’s close ties with civil construction, mining, oil and gas and working in tandem with the Department of Training and Workforce Development. ATM’s three-decade mark was an opportunity to renew its objective to deliver bespoke training and mentorship for future generations.
 
In over 11 years the company has generously contributed more than one million dollars to student scholarships to create equal opportunity for a broad spectrum of youngsters.
 
ATM has established strong community ties. In establishing a VETiS (Vocational Education and Training in Schools) Certificate II in Civil Construction training program for disengaged and disadvantaged youth, with a strong Indigenous focus, the company has fostered significant success for over 100 young adults entering the workforce.
 
"In 2013 we also won VET student of the year with our Aboriginal trainee Gavin Butterworth. He’s now a trainer himself who runs his own training business in Darwin, and he now partners with us to deliver his own training services. Every success story is an inspiration to us, our industry partners and to other learners who see that VET training is critical towards the success of many industries in Western Australia."
 
Hailing from the Scottish Highlands, Alan is in his fifth year with ATM. For 27 years the Director was with the RAF, so perhaps it was a given he would take the company to new heights – in aviation with drones. In February the company began offering the CASA licensed drone-pilot course and Alan says ATM’s semi-rural West Swan site is perfect for the necessary flying training. "We’re hopeful of establishing the Perth Drone Hub here on this site. That’s a Federal project with Regional Development Australia. We’re growing."
 
There’s little doubt, says Alan, that drones are the future in numerous industries and ATM are determined to lead the way. "Drones are getting bigger, they can perform more and more remote, operational functions. Now there are drones that fly through tunnels and some that can go underwater, if you can believe that."
 
"My aim is to develop drone technology and apply it in innovative ways. Land management, surveying, and wider, they will be a big asset for inspections of pipe lines, oil-rigs and infrastructure for companies like Shell or Western Power. But there are other uses waiting in the wings as the information and big data gathered by drones, continues to help businesses operate more efficiently and save money."
 
Today ATM offers a mighty 560 plus training courses. Traffic management and tilt-up training courses are in high demand, but other sought-after courses include the forklift, elevating platforms, dogging, rigging, scaffolding and crane work. "ATM trains students in everything earthmoving and high risk," says Alan.
 
"Because of the high risk element to some courses, ATM focuses on practical skills. We deliver our training in collaboration with Work Safe to ensure our students are licensed and endorsed to work in high-risk environments."
 
The company also offers bulk-billing through the Construction Training Fund for eligible individuals undertaking training courses. "If you are eligible for government funding you pay the reduced course fees and we claim the rest back on your behalf; reducing admin time for people and businesses. We hold that personal service close to our hearts. We like to go the extra mile."
 
Strolling behind the classrooms, Alan looks at the huge shed housing ATM’s machinery waiting for students to try out their new skills.
 
He recalls a young woman with cerebral palsy who took charge of the large roller.
 
"I talked to her mother and discovered that throughout her school life, her daughter was often told what she couldn’t do because it was too dangerous for her. After completing her plant operator training, there she was, driving the roller up and down with her unbelievably proud mother watching on."
 
"That’s why I love doing what I do, why I have this passion for training," says Alan. "It changes people’s lives for the better."