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Thursday, 20 June 2013
Page: 6557

Mr COMBET (CharltonMinister for Climate Change, Industry and Innovation) (09:34): You will be pleased to learn that a few weeks ago I opened the Morisset High School salon. The school has invested its own funds to build a hairdressing salon and to employ a TAFE teacher. By the end of this term, students will be able to be on their way to completing a certificate II in hairdressing at the school. It is the only facility of its kind in a public school in the region.

An opposition member interjecting

Mr COMBET: Almost. It is a credit to the principal, Mr Mark Sneddon, who is very passionate about skills training in schools and has a tremendous reputation in our region. In his former role as principal of Glendale high school, he was the driving force behind the construction of their trades training centre, which is a commercial kitchen built with federal funding of more than $1.3 million. Students at Glendale high school are now completing certificate I and II qualifications in hospitality as a result.

It is a similar story at Callaghan College, Wallsend, which received $2 million in federal funding to build hospitality, metal engineering and construction training facilities, allowing year 10 students to start getting a trade in school. In term 3, Callaghan College will also take part in a pilot program run by the Hunter RDA, teaching a specific 'maths for trades' class, a revision of maths fundamentals to gear kids up for an apprenticeship aptitude test.

The stories are the same at Avondale College in Cooranbong in my electorate, St Paul's Booragul and Toronto High School, which have all received federal funding to build trade training centres. Overall since Labor has been in government, close to $9 million has been invested in trades training centres in my electorate of Charlton. Local kids now have more chance to find a career that suits them and it helps address skills shortages in the region. Most importantly, of course, it makes for much better employment opportunities for young people.

Programs like this go straight to the heart of Labor values. We have always stood for fair, accessible and high-quality education for everyone, regardless of where they live, and this is especially important in my area. It is a principle that underwrites the government's National Plan for School Improvement, a landmark reform which will have a huge impact on schools in my area. Schools in south-western Lake Macquarie are doing fantastic things as well. Under the National Plan for School Improvement we will see additional resources helping schools to do many great things. I am very proud to be part of a government that is implementing important reforms so that every child gets a great education, but the contribution of trades training to schools and to young people and families in the region cannot be underestimated.