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Australia's future depends on high quality education and training.

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Minister for Schools, Vocational Education and Training

Senator for Western Australia



18 June 1998




Creating high quality voca tional education and training systems to meet the challenges of a competitive global economy is a high priority Federal Government aim, the Minister for Schools, Vocational Education and Training, Senator Chris Ellison, said today.


In the opening speech at the 5th Vocational Education and Training Conference in Sydney, Senator Ellison said Australia faces challenges brought on by the expansion of global markets, new technologies and considerable changes to the structure of the workforce.


“It is crucial to our national prosperity that we build a training system that helps position Australian businesses, products and services as market leaders internationally. At the same time we need to reduce unemployment, particularly youth unemployment,” he said.


“The Government’s vision is to build a high quality vocational education and training system that can meet these challenges by providing the skills needed by business and increasing training opportunities for all Australians, particularly young people.


“The New Apprenticeships reforms illustrate the Government’s determination to ensure that Australian enterprises have access to world class skills and, at the same time, that young Australians have practical pathways from school through to employment.”


Senator Ellison said the Federal Government had allocated $433 million in the 1998-99 Budget to underpin the strong growth in New Apprenticeships. The number of trainees and apprentices in training reached record levels at the end of 1997, rising to more than 182,000 people in contracted training. This is an increase of 12.7 per cent over the 1996 figure.


“New Apprenticeships are supported by a network of one-stop New Apprenticeships Centres. Fifty-nine New Apprenticeships Centres, which streamline support for apprenticeships and traineeships commenced operations on 1 May 1998,” Senator Ellison said.


“The Commonwealth, with the States and Territories, is focussing strongly on improving the efficiency, responsiveness and performance of the vocational education and training system.


“We will also encourage the development of a training culture in Australian enterprises and throughout the Australian community so that business and individuals take up more and better training opportunities.”


Contact: Virginia Wallace, Senator Ellison’s office, 02 6277 7540, a/h 0419 217 918