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National awards reward employers for skilling regional Australia.

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Media Release

National Awards Reward Employers For Skilling Regional Australia K116 29 May 2001

"The vital contribution made by employers from rural, regional and remote Australia to supporting their local communities is invaluable," the Minister for Education, Training and Youth Affairs, Dr David Kemp said today in Queanbeyan, New South Wales.

Announcing the 17 winners in the inaugural Minister’s Awards for Excellence , Dr Kemp said that by taking on New Apprentices and providing them with excellent training opportunities, rural and regional employers were helping to keep their communities alive.

"Today’s winners have worked to overcome some challenging issues including skill shortages and a lack of an available workforce in the community. They have shown a real commitment to their local areas by providing opportunities that have allowed people to stay in their local communities instead of having to leave for larger towns and cities to pursue careers and training."

Dr Kemp established the Minister’s Awards for Excellence - rural and regional employers to recognise and reward those employers who are providing high quality training for their New Apprentices. The winning employers were selected from over 150 nominations in 16 regions across Australia, with each receiving $5,000.

"These winners come from a wide variety of industries flourishing in rural and regional Australia. Whether from farming, horticulture, printing, retail, manufacturing, engineering and food service, they have benefited from Commonwealth financial benefits for taking on a New Apprentice, and at the same time had their business bottom line boosted by having a better trained and skilled workforce."

Janelle Whitehead of the Ellimatta Aboriginal Housing Corporation in Coonamble, was the winning employer from Western New South Wales. According to Janelle, the difference training and jobs have made to her town is amazing. "These people now have real qualifications and the chains of unemployment have been broken. It’s good

for the whole community," she says.

The Minister firmly believes skills development within communities is fundamental to regional and local development.

"I hope the success of these winners also demonstrates that distance is no barrier to quality training and that other employers should be encouraged to follow suit."

"Today’s winning employers have all enjoyed the flexible training options available under New Apprenticeships. Whether it’s training delivered on or off-the-job or by using the latest technology and the Internet, New Apprenticeships are flexible enough to meet the training demands of a wide range of industries."

"Many of the employers who work in fast-changing international markets told us training is essential to help them keep up to date with trends and the needs of their customers."

"Interestingly, far from feeling disadvantaged, many of the winners feel New Apprentices in rural and regional Australia gain an even greater range of skills than their counterparts in metropolitan areas," said Dr Kemp.

Paul Rousham, the winning employer from Coleman’s Printing in Darwin, supports this view. He believes apprentices in smaller cities like Darwin get a much broader experience than those in larger cities because smaller outfits are generalists. He says that the financial assistance from the government for employers of New Apprentices is a great help.

The winning employers for 2001 are:

NSW: Hunter & North Coast Hydramatic Engineering

NSW: Illawarra & South East L-Con Building Company

NSW: Riverina Coles Supermarkets

NSW: Western NSW Ellimatta Aboriginal Housing Corporation

NT Colemans Printing

QLD: Central Queensland Parwoods Curtains & Blinds

QLD: Northern Queensland Northern Employment Services

QLD: Southern Queensland Bi-Lo Supermarkets

SA: Country Brook Meat Store

TAS Auspine Tasmania

VIC: Geelong Bird Group/KFC

VIC: Gippsland Drypac

VIC: Central Highlands Dunstan Farmers Engineering Pty Ltd

WA: Central and South East - draw Northam Toyota

WA: Central and South East - draw Marron Pastoral

WA: Northern WA Goolarri Media Enterprises

WA: Southern WA NEEDAC - Noongar Employment and Enterprise Development Aboriginal Corporation

New Apprenticeships in rural and regional areas have increased at a phenomenal rate, growing from over 50,600 in December 1995 to over 99,000 in training in December 2000.

The Federal Government supports New Apprenticeships with financial incentives of up to $4,400 for New Apprenticeships employers, with an additional $1,100 incentive for employers in areas where there is an identified skill shortage in rural and regional Australia.

The number of New Apprenticeship Centres in rural and regional Australia has increased to 197 in the past 12 months, underlying the Government’s commitment to providing the right support for employers and their New Apprentices.

Additional information on New Apprenticeships, including case studies of each of the winners, is available from the national website at For the location of your local New Apprenticeship Centre please call 1800 639 629.


Media contact: Media contact: Catherine Job 02 6277 7460 or 0408 648 400



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