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Thursday, 15 May 2014
Page: 3974


Mr WOOD (La Trobe) (10:01): On Wednesday, 7 May, I had the very great pleasure of officially opening the new Hills Hospitality Trade Training Centre at Belgrave Heights Christian School in my electorate of La Trobe. I had a very lovely lunch prepared in the new facility by the students. The food was first class and the service was also first-class. We received entertainment from local musicians, Naomi Eager, Joshua DeGrass and Daryl Thompson. I must also congratulate Sarah Kelly, the school's event manager, and the very entertaining MC, Ivan Seskis. I have known the principal of Belgrave Heights Christian School, Mr Andy Callow, and his business manager, Glenn Campbell, for about 10 years. When I first went on a tour of the school many years ago, I described it as the hidden gem of the hills. Not many people knew about it and it was regarded as something of a myth, but those days are long gone and everyone now knows about this fantastic school, which has gone from strength to strength.

Last year I was invited to see the school's musical, Annie. I can honestly say that this school production was the best I have ever seen. The school continually demonstrates that if you support and encourage students, they can achieve anything. The construction of this new hospitality trade training centre is no different. Assisted by a $1.3 million federal grant, the new facility is a credit to Andy and his team. With our commercial kitchen and high-quality equipment, the new centre is a place where students can gain qualifications in the food processing and hospitality industry. The centre is concentrating on trades that are currently experiencing shortages in the Dandenong Ranges and local areas— that is, the baker, the cook and the pastry chef. Again, the school and other individuals came together in a spirit of cooperation. The school thought about the job prospects of the region's young people and devised a plan to make a difference in finding jobs for them. It seems to me that in everything the school does it puts the students first. Andy Callow, board members, staff, parents and the entire Belgrave Heights school community—past and present—all share the same vision and, with their strong faith, have created one of the best schools not only in the state, but in Australia. The new centre is a real credit to the desire to give young people of the region the chance to learn new skills, skills that promise to serve them well for their entire working lives. I must congratulate the builder, Daniel Veith, the kitchen designer, chef Robert Anderson, and the entire school community. Congratulations; it was a fantastic day.