I rise today to congratulate Barry Wilson of Cairns Glass & Glazing, who has become the first glazier in Australia to receive a master glazier certification. This is a major step for the glazing industry and a true recognition of Barry's skills and commitment to his customers.
Australia has approximately 11,000 glaziers across the industry and it contributes about $4.5 billion to our national economy.
The Australian Glass and Glazing Association is the industry's peak association, and their stand-alone Continuing Professional Development Program is available to all qualified or in-training glaziers, irrespective of whether they are employed by a member company.
The program provides a defined career path that starts as an apprentice becoming a qualified glazier and then moving to become a certified glazier with an aim and an option to eventually become a master glazier.
For Barry to achieve the master glazier qualification, he had to fulfil a range of criteria including holding a Certificate III in Glass and Glazing, demonstrating relevant skills for at least 10 years post apprenticeship, providing two industry references, completing a work portfolio, demonstrating two areas of specialisation and attending an interview with the state association panel.
For Barry, who began glazing as a 16-year-old in his uncle's business in the Whitsunday Islands, it was humbling to receive this honour.
I think it is a fantastic achievement and, yet again, shows the depth of expertise and talent that we have here in Far North Queensland and in northern Australia more broadly.
We talk about businesses being adaptable and innovative and the potential under policies such as the northern Australia white paper to export this expertise to other tropical zones around the world.
This is a fabulous example of a business that has learnt how to overcome the challenges of operating in a regional area with a very testing and varying climate. It is this kind of knowledge that will put them head and shoulders above the competition.
I would also like to commend the Australian Glass and Glazing Association for being so proactive in identifying gaps in their industry and seeking to address them.
The CPD program was established to combat issues such as the lack of market knowledge and awareness, injuries and fatalities, limited career development opportunities, a perception of glazing being a lesser trade and the lack of suitable qualifications among many glaziers.
The CPD program brings the glass and glazing industry into line with other professional trades providing a benchmark for quality and offering a clear pathway from apprentice to certified glazier and master glazier.
Congratulations again to Barry Wilson. I certainly look forward to catching up with him when I am next in Cairns.