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NSW students denied Australian school-based apprenticeships - again.

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Media Release


July 12, 2006

The New South Wales Labor Government’s plan for Trade Schools has been exposed as nothing more than a sham, with details leaked that only pre-vocational (non-apprenticeship) training will be offered to students.

Australian Minister for Vocational and Technical Education, the Hon Gary Hardgrave MP, today confirmed information packs sent to NSW industry by the NSW Government show its Trade Schools offer no more than pre-vocational training at the lower Certificate II level.

“These are not full-blown Australian Apprenticeships and do not equate with that being offered under the Australian Government’s Australian Technical Colleges Programme,” Mr Hardgrave said.

“Students in other states have far greater advantages than New South Wales. Australian School-Based Apprenticeships are strong in Queensland and Victoria, and growing in South Australia and Tasmania, while Western Australia is prepared to expand its programme, but New South Wales continues to lag behind the rest of Australia.”

The Australian Technical Colleges are a unique concept where Year 11 and 12 students commence an Australian Apprenticeship to Certificate III and IV level, while continuing their academic studies within their own dedicated college.

“The Australian Government has committed $343.6 million over five years to establish 25 Australian Technical Colleges around Australia in 24 strategically important industrial and commercial regions,’’ Mr Hardgrave said.

Eight of these colleges are in New South Wales where the Australian Government is committing up to $120 million for students to commence an Australian School-Based Apprenticeship in the traditional trades at Certificate III level.

New South Wales is establishing 10 trade schools to only deliver Certificate II level, at an investment of only $18 million.

An information sheet on “Australian School-Based Apprenticeships” within the Trade Schools was part of a pack of information provided to industry representatives by the Hunter Central Coast Region and Hunter TAFE at a recent meeting of the Central Coast Apprenticeship and Traineeship Committee meeting in Gosford.

The information pack clearly states students in the NSW Trade Schools on completing Year 12 will have a HSC, a nationally recognised TAFE qualification (Certificate II) and the opportunity to complete the apprenticeship with an employer if both parties agree to continue.

Clearly what the New South Wales Government is offering is no more than what is already available in schools in that state, which have vocational training courses available at either Statement of Attainment, Certificate I or II level.

“These are not Australian Apprenticeships, these so-called Trade Schools will be offering nothing more than what schools already offer in NSW. It is a monumental waste of $18 million taxpayers’ money, if they continue to refuse to offer Certificate III studies,’’ Mr Hardgrave said.

“I would ask the Education Minister Carmel Tebbut again to remove the impediments in place in NSW which at present do not allow real Australian School-Based Apprenticeships,’’ Mr Hardgrave said.

Media Contact: Mr Hardgrave’s Office: Nikki Voss 0402 896 100

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