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Minister launches $507 million Australian Apprenticeships Centres.



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Media Release

MINISTER LAUNCHES $507 MILLION AUSTRALIAN APPRENTICESHIPS CENTRES

October 20, 2006

The Australian Minister for Vocational and Technical Education, the Hon Gary Hardgrave MP, today officially launched the $507.4 million Australian Apprenticeships Support Services contract.

Australian Apprenticeships Centres form part of $11.3 billion worth of Australian Government skills initiatives in the 2005-08 quadrennium.

The launch at the Australian Institute of Sport in Canberra was the culmination of a three-day forum for managers and senior staff of the newly-contracted Australian Apprenticeships Centres.

Contracts have been awarded to 30 organisations to deliver Australian Apprenticeships Support Services across Australia, providing streamlined services to apprentices and employers for the duration of apprenticeships.

Representatives of state and territory training authorities and industry groups also took part in discussions.

The forum focused on “Quality through Co-operation”, with delegates exploring ways of working with key stakeholders, including Australian Technical Colleges, Regional Industry Career Advisers and Local Community Partnerships.

“Collaboration is a pivotal element in the success of the Australian Apprenticeships Centres,” Mr Hardgrave said.

“Coupled with Australian Government initiatives, such as the recently announced $837 million Skills for the Future package, collaboration, co-operation and co-ordination are the key elements that will encourage business to take on an Australian Apprentice or take up a first-rate vocational career.

“This is all vital in propelling and continuing to build on our nation’s economic prosperity by providing businesses with skilled workers, which will enable them to grow.”

These newly contracted centres contribute toward increasing apprenticeship participation, retention and completion through early intervention strategies and greater servicing and support.

The new Australian Apprenticeships Services contract will focus on priority groups such as Indigenous Australians, mature-aged workers and people with a disability.

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“Australian Apprenticeships Centres will make a real difference in the lives of some of the community’s most disadvantaged to ensure they have every opportunity to reap the benefits of a rewarding career,” Mr Hardgrave said.

The centres support employers and Australian Apprentices and will administer the Australian Government Apprenticeships Incentives Programme and provide a job matching service to connect mutually suitable employers and apprentices.

The contracts commenced on July 1, 2006 and will be in place for the next three years until June 30, 2009.

Minister Hardgrave’s Media Adviser: Nikki Voss 0402 896 100 Dept of Education, Science and Training: Media Unit 02 6240 7300 Non-media queries 1300 363 079

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