NVC Precast has been growing alongside the Kilmore community for 30 years and even in the face of a global pandemic, the company continues to provide employment and apprenticeship opportunities for Victorians supporting crucial infrastructure projects.
The rise of COVID-19 cases in Victoria throughout July caused the state government to declare a state of disaster and enact some of the toughest restrictions on businesses ever seen in Australia.
While the impact on the economy has been significant, some civil construction projects have been deemed an essential service to keep a part of the economy moving forward.
Based in Kilmore, which is subject to Stage Three restrictions, and with contracts for critical civil infrastructure projects such as some of the Level Crossing Removals and Westgate Tunnel Project, NVC Precast has continued to operate throughout the pandemic with social distancing and additional safety measures which comply with COVID Safe Plans in place.
The company supplies critical precast elements to projects, throughout Victoria, to enable construction to continue and provides many jobs for locals.
In addition to substantially increasing their workforce from the previous year, earlier this year the company was able to on-board three apprentices due to the growing number of jobs at the site.
These apprenticeships provided important opportunities for people in the community to gain skills, including steel fabrication and welding and training in the construction industry.
NVC Precast is one of Mitchell Shires’ large employers and securing work on major projects plays an important part in providing employment opportunities and job security for the workers and subcontractors throughout the region.
The company has also been a member of the Civil Contractors Federation Victoria (CCFV) for over 20 years and has even won awards through the federation, including excellence in civil construction.
CCFV CEO John Kilgour says NVC is an important Victorian supplier of precast concrete with many key clients such as the Victorian Department of Transport.
“A company like NVC Precast are at the very fabric and heart of the community, they are an integral part of that community. They provide the services and products that are used in our everyday lives,” Kilgour says.
“If you think about long-term social and economic growth, the foundations of that need to be laid in the construction sector by providing gainful employment.”
He says coming through the pandemic the social and economic recovery is going to be led by the building and construction sector, given its size and scale and its importance to government.
Kilgour says companies like NVC Precast are conducting services and providing materials that will help build communities.
With Metropolitan Melbourne’s population set to almost double to around eight million by 2050 and Victoria’s population estimated to grow to 10 million he says its important peri-urban communities can grow.
“It’s not about being a satellite city of Melbourne, you need to create jobs and build communities where people live,” Kilgour says.
“Companies like NVC Precast have a critical role to play in building the infrastructure and providing supplies for that infrastructure that will stimulate economic growth in peri-urban areas and also in regional cities.”
Kilgour says by 2027, around 17 per cent of the current construction workforce will be of retirement age meaning it is critical to get younger people trained in the industry.
“Over the past four or five years we have seen a significant in-pour of new people coming into the industry off the back of programs like Victoria’s Big Build,” he says.
Having construction businesses such as NVC Precast in Kilmore, spread out across Victoria allows young people to learn new skills and enter the industry in their hometowns.
“Within regional communities when you start talking about the connectivity of those communities and the building of the foundations for those major projects people can walk away being proud of the legacy they leave,” he says.
Liliana Musolino, Field Operations Manager at MEGT, works with NVC Precast to ensure the apprenticeships are successful and create a positive impact in the community.
“Some of the apprentices we sign go on to eventually create their own business and employ apprentices of the next generation,” Musolino says.
“These opportunities make sure those who are skilled remain in their areas and have the opportunity to remain there and in the future do the same in turn for someone else.”
As part of the Kilmore and Mitchell Shire communities, NVC is based in Victoria’s fastest growing Local Government Area, according to the Victoria in Future 2019 report.
Mitchell Shire Mayor David Lowe says as the fastest growing municipality it is focused on creating a healthy, sustainable and connected community now and into the future.
“We’re working to bring more jobs to our towns through our strong planning principles and guidelines that will support our continued business growth and investment.” he says.
With its ability to provide continued sustainable employment, bring on apprentices and gain contracts on major projects, NVC Precast is contributing to these goals.
As the unemployment rate for the country reached 7.4 per cent in June 2020, NVC Precast has strict COVID-19 measures in place to best ensure it can keep people working and continue to provide essential precast elements to major projects.
The company hopes to continue growing and supporting the community of Kilmore by being a part of projects that transform infrastructure in the area and towns across Victoria.
For more information on NVC Precast visit www.nvcprecast.com.au
NOTE: photos for this article were taken prior to COVID-19.