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Monday, 9 February 2015
Page: 174

Ms PRICE (Durack) (10:44): The nominees are! Today my words are what I consider to be both sweet and sour. In November, I officially opened the Kimberley Group Training Skills Centre in Kununurra. This is a $2 million project which was born out of sheer long-term frustration. Young people in Kununurra and surrounds, predominantly Indigenous youth, who were applying for apprenticeships and traineeships were essentially and basically unsuitable and unemployable due to poor literacy, numeracy and life skills. We know this is not uncommon—we hear this frequently—but what concerns me is that we have built a new skill centre, in this case in Kununurra, against a background where education and training efforts up to this point have failed these young people in the Kimberley. How disappointing it is that we as a society and as a government have had no choice but to insert another layer into the education and training stratum. Let me list them. We have preschool, primary school and secondary school; now we have another layer, called skills training, which prepares the young or the older person to enable them to participate in an apprenticeship or traineeship. I sincerely hope that the new training centre in Kununurra is successful. It is certainly different and trying very hard to overcome the failures of the past with this approach.

Moving on, the purpose of the Kimberley Group Training Skills Centre is to provide a creative and culturally appropriate service combining industry knowledge and intensive and individualised literacy and numeracy tuition, preparing graduates of the centre for apprenticeships, traineeships or direct employment. The centre's primary focus is on unemployed people who have poor education levels and have been dependent on welfare. The training includes life skills and work readiness, with the first intake in Kununurra doing a course in hospitality and mechanical workshop. This training, however, is not accredited and it is hoped that, upon completion of the program, the young people, and also many mature aged men and women, will be equipped to take up the many opportunities available in the hospitality industry within the Kimberleys, either as trainees, as apprentices or simply as employees. Of course, this is something to monitor closely.

At the opening of the centre, noting that the federal government contributed half a million dollars, it was encouraging to see the local service providers in Kununurra getting on board. They need employees and are, therefore, investing in the new facility and the local people. I acknowledge John Gummery, who is the CEO of Kimberley Group Training, and Chairman Mr Peter Stubbs for their perseverance, vision and good work in bringing this skills centre to fruition. As an aside, I sincerely hope that the WA state government will continue to support the group training organisations beyond 2014-15, including Kimberley Group Training.