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Australian technical colleges request for proposal.



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Media Release

Australian technical colleges request for proposal 30 March 2005

Minister for Vocational and Technical Education, Gary Hardgrave, today announced the release of the Request For Proposal to establish and operate Australian Technical Colleges in 24 regions throughout Australia at an investment by the Australian Government of $343.6 million over the next five years.

Mr Hardgrave said the Request for Proposal process was the next step in establishing the Australian Technical Colleges as one measure of the Australian Government’s continuing response to addressing the current skills needs. The Colleges are a positive nation-building initiative to strengthen vocational education throughout Australia.

“The reason for establishing these Colleges is simple - we want to get more young Australians into traditional trades and we want to provide them with that choice in Years 11 and 12. We also want to ensure that a trade qualification is as valued as any gained at university" said Mr Hardgrave.

“The Expressions of Interest period which closed on 18 February, highlighted strong community support for the Colleges, with more than 160 expressions received from organisations including local government, employers and business, employer and industry associations, education and training providers and community groups.

“This response demonstrates the enthusiasm in these communities for a high quality and fresh new approach to address skills needs in both metropolitan and regional Australia. Communities, industry and business have recognised the key component of the Colleges which is that local industry and community representatives will be taking a leading role in the governance of each of the Colleges.

“Importantly, Australian Technical Colleges will offer performance pay to teachers and will be required to offer the option of an Australian Workplace Agreement to all staff in accordance with the Workplace Relations Act 1996. Colleges will also need to ensure that staff maintain relevant, up-to-date industry skills and experience.

“Students will undertake a School-based New Apprenticeship leading to a nationally recognised vocational education and training qualification. At the same time they will also complete the academic subjects required for their Year 12 certificate.

“Proposals are sought from suitably qualified and experienced organisations that demonstrate the involvement of local business, industry, education and training providers, parents and the general community. I would encourage anybody interested in being part of the establishment of the Colleges to submit a formal proposal to my Department.

“Some of the Colleges will be up and running by the start of the 2006 school year, with all 24 colleges opening their doors by no later than 2008.

“The Howard Government has committed an additional $1.06 billion over the next four years to a number of initiatives to address skills shortages,” Mr Hardgrave said.

Request For Proposal documentation is available at: http://www.dest.gov.au/schools/technicalcolleges/default.htm

The closing date for proposals is Friday 20 May 2005.

Media Contact: Suzanne Ferguson 0402 896 100