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Crusader Caravans manufacturing boon for City of Whittlesea

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A NEW State Government initiative will boost caravan manufacturing in Victoria and create new jobs and training opportunities in the City of Whittlesea.

Minister for Employment Jaala Pulford last week announced 150 new jobs for caravan manufacturing as people spend more time touring the state after lockdowns. 

In partnership with North Link and Caravan Industry Victoria, the government is providing on-the-job training at caravan manufacturers in the City of Whittlesea, including at Crusader Caravans in Epping.

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The caravan and boating industry is the fourth largest manufacturing industry in the City of Whittlesea with 41 businesses already employing 450 people.

Under the ‘earn and learn’ initiative, another 150 workers will receive support and skill development in areas including assembly, service and repairs, warehousing and logistics, administration and sales to kickstart their new careers.

The jobs will go to those from priority groups that have been hardest hit by the pandemic including from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds, long-term unemployed and young people under 25 years.

Ten manufacturers have been engaged, with Crusader Caravans taking on two new staff members as part of the program. It will soon increase its factory size to meet soaring demand from long-time caravanners and recent converts to mobile holidays.

The Whittlesea and Hume municipalities are the capital of the nation’s caravan manufacturing industry, with about 20,000 caravans – 90 per cent of the Australian total – completed each year.

The sector is worth $2.3 billion to the Victorian economy annually, with about 7500 caravan industry workers drawing $600 million in wages every year.

“The caravan industry is booming and this provides a great opportunity for Victorians to build a career in an industry that is really going places,” Ms Pulford said.

“Being able to earn a wage while learning new skills and building knowledge on the job is a winning combination.”

City of Whittlesea chair administrator Lydia Wilson sad the announcement was a ‘most welcome boost for local jobs’.

“Our community has been hard hit by the pandemic and this program will boost the local economy and help local jobseekers kick start careers in the booming caravan industry,” she said.

“Earlier this year council launched an innovative plan to attract new business ventures to the City of Whittlesea and support existing businesses to grow to create more jobs for local people.”

Ms Wilson said the City of Whittlesea was a great place to do business with important competitive advantages such as proximity to major transport links.

“We are one of Australia’s fastest growing municipalities, welcoming around 8000 new residents every 12 months but the number of new local jobs isn’t keeping up, at only 1800 a year,” she said.

“We are working to attract more medium and large sized businesses to the City of Whittlesea, particularly in the key sectors of healthcare and social assistance, manufacturing and wholesale trade.

“Council is continuing to advocate to the federal and state governments and work with partner agencies including NorthLink, Northern Councils Alliance and National Growth Areas Alliance, to attract investment that will benefit our wider region.”

Caravan Industry Victoria chief executive Rob Lucas said the initiative was a win-win for the industry and for local travellers. 

“People are travelling again and want more of our industry’s products and this program comes at a time when our employer members need it the most,” he said.

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