Wednesday, 8 August 2007
Wakefield Electorate: Northern Advanced Manufacturing Industry Group Project
I rise tonight to bring to the attention of the House one of the partnerships that is occurring in South Australia in the seat of Wakefield between the Australian government, industry and schools. One of the things that I often hear from parents as I talk with them is their concern about whether their young people will be able to find a job. I speak with employers, and they talk about the fact that they are struggling to find enough people to come and work in their workplaces. I hear from both trade training organisations and universities about the difficultly in finding young people who have the correct prerequisite subjects to come into some trade or tertiary training courses.
It is for this reason that I have been very pleased over the last few years to work with the Northern Advanced Manufacturing Industry Group, which has been led by Connie Woodbury. That was funded originally under the Australian government’s Sustainable Regions Program in Playford and Salisbury. We worked with a number of industry partners—people such as Tenix Defence, BAE Systems, Holden, NTS Global, DANA Australia, Futuris and IMP Printed Circuits—to create a program that took industry into the schools.
Upon reaching year 10 in their schooling, many young people are choosing subjects and deciding which stream they want to go down. What became very apparent was that if the students had not been exposed to the possibilities—and, importantly, if their careers adviser teachers and their science teachers and others had not seen what the possibilities are, or what the relevance of school subjects have to the modern workplace in the advanced manufacturing area—then many of these young people at that time will not have made the right choice of subjects that would lead them to be ready and able to move into either particular apprenticeships or further training or tertiary education so that they could go into the very real opportunities in automotive, mining and defence industry sectors in Wakefield in South Australia.
This program has led to something called Concept 2 Creation, which is the brainchild of some of the industry partners in South Australia. It allows industry to go and work with the teachers and the children in the schools to give them projects to develop their understanding of advanced manufacturing concepts and technologies. It gives them a real challenge to work on to develop a solution. They then have days where they can highlight those and other people can see them. But, importantly, industry also offers industry tours for the careers adviser teachers, the science teachers and the students so that they can come out and see where some of the subjects they are learning at school are applied in real industry areas. This gives these young people an awareness of what the workplace is like and where these things could lead so that they can start making subject choices that will enable them to pursue those courses and get involved in these industry sectors, which are booming in Wakefield at the moment. There are a number of schools involved at the moment, such as Craigmore High School, Para Hills, Salisbury, St Columba and Thomas More College. I encourage schools to look at this program and invite this group to come in and work with them and their students because it provides an added element to what they are teaching in the schools, and it also provides information for the students who are making the choices.
We know that it adds value to industry because they have been prepared to partner with us and devote time. People like Annette Cinnamond from Tenix have been chairing NAMIG and have been providing that support. Industry have committed to it and we are very glad to say that just recently I had the Prime Minister come to Wakefield to announce a further $1.225 million to enable this program to continue into the future. So this is now a partnership between the Australian government, the state government, industry groups and the schools. It is something I encourage other people to be involved with, both in the schools and in industry, because it is making this link for our young people that will equip them with the skills that they need to move into the workplace that exists in South Australia, which is booming and is forecast to continue to do so for a number of years to come. It is part of securing a future for our young people, which is something that I have over the last three years been aiming to work with communities in Wakefield to achieve.