A NEW Trades Skills Centre in Weipa will help young trainees forge closer links with industry as the Australian Government strengthens its focus on vocational education and training in schools.
Leichhardt MP Warren Entsch has confirmed that the Government will honour its commitment of up to $1.5 million in funding to establish a Trades Skills Centre at the Western Cape College.
The commitment is part of the Government’s decision to honour a $209 million offer for Round Five (Phase One) of the Trade Training Centres programme that was initially promised by Labor but never delivered.
“I’m 100 per cent behind any young person who wants to learn a trade in our regional areas but there were a number of problems with Labor’s program,” Mr Entsch said.
“Back in 2007, they promised 2650 Trade Training Centres one for every school in the country. But as of May last year, only 252 had been built that’s less than 10 per cent.
“In last year’s Budget, Labor then delayed any further roll-out of the programme to save money meaning it would take 25 years at that rate before all the centres were open.
“Our young people in regional areas need appropriate training pathways and that’s why we’ve made some changes to deliver better vocational education results.
“The project funding agreements have been amended to make sure there is more industry engagement and collaboration, and to strengthen student support arrangements. These new projects will be called Trades Skills Centres.
“I’m confident that with these changes, there will be far better outcomes for local trainees.”
The new Trades Skills Centre at Weipa includes construction of new engineering and construction workshops and also the provision of equipment. The centre will deliver qualifications in construction and engineering to address skills shortages in the trades of Fitter and Turner and Plumber (General).
“Vocational education and training in schools will provide students at Weipa’s Trades Skills Centre with the opportunity to strengthen business and industry training relationships and promote future employment opportunities,” Mr Entsch said.