14 October 2022

Free TAFE courses deliver hope and life-saving skills as Batlow recovers

| Katrina Condie
Start the conversation
TAFE NSW students

Participants in the special bushfire recovery skills workshops being run by TAFE NSW in the Tumut and Batlow regions. Photo: TAFE NSW.

Batlow residents are learning life-saving skills at a series of free bushfire recovery workshops that will run until November.

The program being offered by TAFE NSW and St Vincent de Paul Society Canberra-Goulburn is helping the tight-knit community recover from the devastating Black Summer bushfires and teaching residents skills so they can be better prepared for any future disasters.

As part of its Bushfire Recovery Program, Vinnies reached out to TAFE to deliver a range of fee-free courses, including courses about chainsaw use, first aid, white cards and safe food handling.

One person was killed, 26 homes were destroyed and a host of farms and businesses were lost in Batlow during the 2019-2020 fires.

The courses are aimed at helping residents of Batlow and the surrounding area gain employability skills, learn fire management techniques and better equip the community to ‘build back’.

Among the latest to run were first aid courses on 12 September and 16 September at the Batlow Resilience Hub, attended by 24 locals.

TAFE NSW team leader of nursing Andrea Purnell said residents were armed with the practical tools to make a difference in their own lives and support the community.

READ ALSO Snowy Valleys firefighters buoyed by $8m new headquarters

“This is a tangible example of how TAFE NSW tailors courses to give students the real-world skills when they need it most,” Ms Purnell said.

“Having more locals trained in skills such as first aid and chainsaw operations could be invaluable, especially during times of crisis.”

Burnt property

Properties in Batlow were destroyed in the Black Summer bushfires. Photo: File.

Snowy Valleys Council deputy mayor Trina Thomson welcomed the initiative and said the benefit was already being felt across the council area.

“It’s important people recognise that fear and grief don’t have a time frame, and our communities are still very much rebuilding,” Cr Thomson said.

“It’s great to see TAFE NSW and Vinnies responding in this way.”

READ ALSO Vinnies builds community cohesion as third phase of bushfire funding rolls out

Vinnies Canberra-Goulburn Bushfire Recovery Program coordinator Ray Akhurs, said the courses were one of the many ways Vinnies was helping disaster-hit communities.

“This is something we can give communities and help them be better prepared for future disasters,” Mr Akhurst said.

“We’ve had excellent feedback from Snowy Valleys communities – they are very appreciative. The TAFE NSW teachers have been excellent and I think the communities have benefited greatly.”

Many of the courses are run out of the Snowy Valleys Resilience Hub in Batlow but others, such as chainsaw courses, are being run out of Tumut.

For more information about enrolling in a Bushfire Recovery Program course, contact [email protected].

Start the conversation

Daily Digest

Do you like to know what’s happening around your region? Every day the About Regional team packages up our most popular stories and sends them straight to your inbox for free. Sign-up now for trusted local news that will never be behind a paywall.

By submitting your email address you are agreeing to Region Group's terms and conditions and privacy policy.