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National Skills Conference.



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Media Release

National Skills Conference 31 August, 2005

Minister for Vocational and Technical Education, the Hon Gary Hardgrave MP, today addressed the National Skills Solutions Conference in Sydney, outlining the new national training framework reforms for Australian vocational and technical education.

Addressing the 60 delegates from key industries across Australia, Mr Hardgrave highlighted the new training challenges, including an urgent need for skills in many key industries, advances in technology and innovation, an ageing population, low unemployment and changing work participation and employment patterns.

“In response to those challenges, the Australian Government is seeking a more direct role in governance and operational arrangements for the national training system, and stronger accountability requirements. It was pleasing to have Queensland and Western Australia sign up to the agreement last week,” said Mr Hardgrave.

“Industry and business needs will continue to drive training policies, priorities and delivery, and reforms will also promote more flexible and accelerated training pathways.

Mr Hardgrave also outlined the Government’s commitment to addressing skills needs within the workforce.

“Over the next four years the Government is providing $10.1 billion for vocational and technical education. This record funding includes $587.1 million for a suite of new initiatives,” Mr Hardgrave explained.

“These include the Commonwealth Trade Learning Scholarships comprised of two payments of $500 at the end of each of a completed first and second year for New Apprentices in trades identified as experiencing skill needs and a $2,750 completion initiative for employers, recognising the commitment of those employers who provide 25% or more of a New Apprentice’s training.

“The proposed Australian Technical Colleges will also provide real trade learning to Years 11 and 12 students, while at the same time allowing them to gain the necessary academic subjects for their Year 12 certificate.

“The Colleges will allow students interested in rewarding and lucrative trade careers to get a flying start in vital fields such as metals and engineering, automotive, building and construction, electrotechnology and commercial cookery.

“I appreciate the opportunity to speak at this important two day national skills solutions conference. I know if industry and the Australian Government can work together we can successfully address the current skills challenges we face as a nation,” Mr Hardgrave concluded.

Media Contact: Suzanne Ferguson 0402 896 100