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Closing date for proposals for Australian technical colleges nears.



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Media Release

CLOSING DATE FOR PROPOSALS FOR AUSTRALIAN TECHNICAL COLLEGES NEARS

13 May 2005

Minister for Vocational and Technical Education, Gary Hardgrave, today said there was only one week left for proposals to be submitted for the establishment of Australian Technical Colleges.

“I know many of those interested in these Colleges are working with some urgency on their proposals and I am keen to remind them all of the looming closing date of Friday, 20 May 2005,” Mr Hardgrave said.

The Australian Technical Colleges (Flexibility in Achieving Australia ’s Skills Needs) Bill 2005 was introduced into Parliament this week. The Bill will provide funding of $343.6 million over the next five years for these Colleges to be located in 24 identified regions nationally.

“The response from communities to this Australian Government commitment has been extremely positive. Many groups have been working on proposals since the Government sought initial expressions of interest late last year. It is encouraging to see local business and industry working together with education and training providers to develop proposals which will result in training that meets local needs,” Mr Hardgrave said.

The establishment and operation of the Australian Technical Colleges will ensure provision of skills training, education and mentoring for young Australians. This will be achieved through the following key principles which must be adhered to and addressed in the Request for Proposals:

? the Colleges will be led by local industry, with a governing body chaired by a local business person and comprising representatives from the local industry and the wider community;

? the Colleges will be schools offering high quality education, training and facilities relevant to a career in the trades. They will provide students with the opportunity to commence a School-Based New Apprenticeship leading to a nationally recognised Training Package qualification while also completing the requirements for a senior secondary certificate of education;

? the Colleges will promote pride and excellence in trade training skills by creating a distinct culture and ethos; and

? the Colleges will attract talented and committed staff with the offer of flexible working conditions, including rewards linked to outstanding performance, and by giving staff the option of an Australian Workplace Agreement.

“It is disappointing the Australian Education Union does not support the injection of additional funding to help regional areas meet their skills needs. The union has failed to recognise that Colleges will, where possible, use existing infrastructure and services within the communities in which they are located. They will not ‘undermine ’ existing TAFE Colleges and secondary schools - by working together TAFEs, secondary colleges and the local community will benefit.

“Rather than disadvantaging students as claimed by the union, the Colleges will be providing

additional, attractive pathways to learning and employment in the trades which are important for the future of Australia.

“The Howard Government has funded 7,000 more School-Based New Apprenticeships (SBNAs) in the 2005-06 Budget and this has finally been recognised as a necessity by the Australian Labor Party. I call on the ALP to urge their State and Territory counterparts and their union mates to remove the industrial relations impediments which are currently stopping students taking up SBNAs in traditional trades. Without these impediments students throughout Australia could be undertaking SBNAs at increased levels right now.

“In addition, States and Territories must ensure there is no obstruction to consortia which are working diligently to submit proposals that will deliver Australian Technical Colleges with the support of the States and Territories,” Mr Hardgrave concluded.

Mr Hardgrave urged groups who are working on proposals to submit them to the Department of Education, Science and Training by the closing date of Friday 20 May 2005.

For more information on the RFP process for Australian Technical Colleges see: http://www.australiantechnicalcolleges.gov.au

Media Contact: Suzanne Ferguson 0402 896 100