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Thursday, 6 March 2014
Page: 1971


Mr GOODENOUGH (Moore) (11:08): A strong university, vocational education and training sector is vital to develop the skilled workforce necessary to drive local economic development in the electorate of Moore. Located within the central business district is the strategic hub known as the Joondalup Learning Precinct, which comprises key educational institutions, including the West Coast Institute of Training, Edith Cowan University, the Western Australian Police Academy, as well as the nearby College of Electrical Training and the Motor Industry Training Association. While these organisations are educational leaders in their respective fields, steady population growth in the region places greater demand on resources and the need for ongoing capital works to expand both tertiary and vocational education training facilities.

The West Coast Institute of Training currently has approximately 300 full-time equivalent academic and support staff delivering more than 130 different training qualifications, ranging from certificate 1 to advanced diploma in a wide variety of subject areas. In particular, the Academy of Hospitality and Culinary Arts located at the Joondalup campus has partnered with Hospitality Group Training to deliver accelerated apprenticeships in commercial cookery. It has received numerous industry awards. The institute's Pavilion Restaurant allows students to practice their skills with paying members of the public as customers. Similarly, each week the WCIT Trades North campus in Clarkson trains approximately 900 students in pre-apprenticeships, apprenticeships and trades training in the areas of bricklaying, electrical, metal fabrication, carpentry, tiling and plastering. At the completion of the courses, graduates are workforce-ready to join the building industry.

The nearby College of Electrical Training is operated by the National Electrical and Communications Association of Western Australia and has the capacity to train up to 1,000 apprentice electricians. The federal government provided a $2.7 million grant to build this training facility, which is a leader in its field.

Also located in Joondalup, the Motor Industry Training Association provides a range of automotive courses in mechanical repairs, electronic diagnostics, panel beating and spray painting. Catering for both light passenger vehicles and heavy vehicles, the facility is operated by the Motor Trade Association of Western Australia and provides a hands-on practical learning experience for apprentices and technicians, as well as group training and short courses.

As the cornerstone of the Learning Precinct, Edith Cowan University's Joondalup campus is the main hub for 24,000 students enrolled across three campuses. Of particular interest is research and development. The university's Office of Research and Innovation had a budget of approximately $15.7m in 2012. Of this, $8.1m was funded by the federal government. The university's work in the area of the commercialisation of Australian inventions and technology provides a source of strategic competitive advantage in ensuring that our domestic economy benefits from innovation and invention. As an example, on a recent visit I was given a demonstration of a smart crop sprayer which uses laser technology to distinguish between weeds and crops—selectively applying herbicide and so minimising the impact on the environment and reducing costs for farmers. Home-grown innovations such as these will make our economy more competitive.

In summary, continued investment by the government in the Joondalup Learning Precinct at Edith Cowan University, at the West Coast Institute of Training and at vocational education and training facilities will maximise the career opportunities available to my constituents, particularly our youth, and provide the skilled workforce required to build a stronger economy.