Building in his blood

Posted January 19, 2015


Robert Row

As the son, the grandson and the great grandson of builders it was almost inevitable that Robert Row would join the industry.

Now he sits as the National and Queensland Civil Contractors Federation chief executive officer.

Mr Row began his construction career with an apprenticeship in carpentry at the age of 21 and then moved into the family business of residential and light commercial construction.

In later years Mr Row found his true passion in the training and up skilling of others in the industry.

“I got involved in the training side of things working with the Queensland Master Builders Association and I helped them set up their original apprentice training school in Inala in Queensland,” he said.

Master Builders in conjunction with the CFMEU, Master Painters, Master Bricklayers and some other industry bodies then went about setting up their own training organisation which Mr Row became chief executive officer for 13 years.

“At the time it had about 120 apprentices and didn’t really do training, it was more apprentice hire. I set up the registered training organization and over time it morphed into have about 1000 apprentices on the payroll and around 4,000 students in the RTO,” he said.

In 2007 Mr Row was appointed chief executive officer of the Queensland branch of the Civil Contractors Federation and has subsequently taken on the dual role at national and state level.

From day one in his position with CCF Mr Row set his mind to training and has since helped the organisation to open two new training centres in Brisbane’s Eight Mile Plains and in Townsville.

“I certainly changed the focus within CCF to workforce and skills development,” Mr Row said. “The vision is to make sure that the industry is sufficiently skilled into the future.”

“We have the two centres now and the board have now set a goal of three more to be built in Queensland.”

His proudest career achievement was the training opportunities he had provided for apprentices across Australia, Mr Row said.

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