WIMMERA plumbing students have stepped into new territory at the University of Ballarat's Horsham campus plumbing facility.
The first classes at the new state-of-the-art facility took place on Wednesday.
Head of Western Campuses Geoff Lord said 17 students from across the Wimmera and Southern Mallee were enrolled in the plumbing course.
"They have access to a full suite of equipment and a plumbing workshop now they never had that before," he said.
"In that they also get access to engineering equipment such as welding equipment and conveyors.
"The plumbing course has been offered for the past 12 months this new facility enables us to offer it in an industry-standard working and learning environment."
Mr Lord said the facility would help to address skills shortages in the agricultural and manufacturing industries.
"We had a number of plumbers and business owners visit the centre last week and they certainly made comment about the wonderful benefits of having this facility in the region," he said.
Mr Lord said the university's new industry skills centre in Ballarat which will cover apprenticeships and trade training would officially open in January but there would be a transition phase from this month.
"It is in the process of being established under the restructure of the TAFE sector of the university," he said.
Apprentices in the Wimmera will have access to the centre.