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Monday, 13 February 2017
Page: 853

Mrs SUDMALIS (Gilmore) (16:42): In January we had the Gilmore Apprenticeship Challenge. The whole idea was to try and encourage 52 local businesses to take on an apprentice or a trainee. So with Guns and Roses going, we had a display, we had TAFE, we had the apprenticeship support networks and we had some young people looking for apprenticeship positions.

The government has $3.2 billion over four years to support Australian apprenticeship arrangements with incentives, support programs, loans and pilot programs. But, more importantly, what we really need to do is encourage our young students to see that university is not the only aim that is required. Right now we need to get young people into trade skills in particular, because in one, two or three years we are going to be desperately short of these trades. We are trying to encourage young people to get into apprenticeships—and guess what? We have almost got our 52 placements. As at the end of last week, we have 50, with another 90 already registered with the state government ready for the final tick off there.

I am so excited to see the enthusiasm that has been met in our community by our employers demonstrating that they want to take on these young people to gift their skills. As some of them have said: 'If I do not teach them how to do some of the special things in my trade, where are they going to learn them?' I congratulate all our employers who have taken up the challenge. I am really proud of them, particularly George the landscaper, who has taken up George the apprentice.