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Tuesday, 13 March 2012
Page: 2739

Mr MURPHY (Reid) (18:04): Last Friday I was delighted to speak at the Southern Cross Catholic Vocational College on behalf of the Minister for School Education, Early Childhood and Youth, Peter Garrett, to celebrate the official opening of the new trade training centre at Burwood in my electorate of Reid. Visiting schools is always a highlight, especially as it allows me to meet with students, teachers and school communities and to see firsthand the exciting new opportunities that are available. Southern Cross Catholic Vocational College is the lead school in a cluster application submitted in round 1 of the Trade Training Centres in Schools Program and was awarded $11 million to provide this training facility. Other schools in this cluster to benefit from the training facility are Bethlehem College, De La Salle College, Marist College, Domremy College, Holy Cross College, Marist Sisters College, St Scholastica's College, St Patrick's College, Christian Brothers High School and Berne Education Centre.

The dual-strand curriculum will produce workforce-ready students who graduate with either a Certificate II or completion toward a Certificate III in their chosen field. Both certificates are the equivalent study requirements of a first year apprenticeship. The program is an important element of the Australian government's education revolution and one of a number of initiatives designed to improve the quality of schooling and have a qualified, well-trained Australian workforce—a goal clearly shared by Southern Cross Catholic Vocational College and its partner schools. This program gives every Australian secondary school student access to industry-standard trades training facilities. The availability of facilities that provide pathways to trade careers is a vital element in keeping all students engaged and rewarded in their senior secondary schooling.

The overall program will provide $2.5 billion over 10 years to allow all secondary schools access to infrastructure funding to build new or enhance existing trade training facilities. To date the program has approved $1.2 billion to fund more than 370 projects benefiting over 1,060 schools around Australia. This trades training centre facility in Burwood will not only provide industry-relevant training that will engage students but also properly prepare them to be the highly skilled workforce of tomorrow. The establishment of this trades training centre is also an example of how cooperative partnerships coupled with long-term vision can help promote quality education, help address national skills shortages and enhance the productivity of our nation. Finally, I congratulate all of those involved in making this project a success and applaud the college's commitment to improving the opportunities and training pathways for the students in this area.