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Rockhampton company: Parwoods wins "Ministers Award for Excellence" for skilling regional Australia.

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Media Release

Rockhampton Company - Parwoods Wins "Ministers Award for Excellence" For Skilling Regional Australia

K116p 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 in presenting the award to Rockhampton business, Parwoods Curtains and Blinds.

Parwoods, recognized in Queensland as being one of the first outlets to gain industry recognition, is one of 17 winners in the inaugural Minister’s Awards for Excellence for rural and regional employers of New Apprentices. Parwoods was chosen from over 150 nominations in 16 regions across Australia and is the winner for the Central Queensland region. Each winner will receive $5,000.

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."

Susan Parsons, Owner of Parwoods Curtains and Blinds, said that she was honoured to win the Minister’s Award. In the 25 years she has owned her business, she has seen the soft furnishing industry move from being considered ‘unskilled’ to having nationally recognised qualifications through New Apprenticeships.

"Training has made such a huge difference to our business," said Susan. "New Apprentices learn off-the-job training and come back with new techniques. It raises the standard of their work and they take great pride in doing a good job."

Dr Kemp said "Susan has a wonderful approach and attitude to training, and believes that the success of her business is a direct result of having a well-trained team. She has used New Apprenticeships very effectively to build a skilled and competitive business. I wholeheartedly commend Susan Parsons and her team for their tremendous work."

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.

"Today’s winners come from a range of industries including farming, horticulture, printing, retail, manufacturing, engineering, food service and soft furnishings. All have benefited differently from being involved in New Apprenticeships."

"Many have taken advantage of 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 work in fast-changing national and international markets and 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.

The winning employers in 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 in non-metropolitan areas.

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: Catherine Job 02 6277 7460 or 0408 648 400

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