Thursday, 1 December 2016
McPherson Electorate: Vocational Education and Training
I would like to bring to the attention of the House a very important initiative in my electorate and throughout the Gold Coast that is putting young people on the road to a rewarding job and raising awareness of the value of apprenticeships.
As the local federal member and the Assistant Minister for Vocational Education and Skills, I was honoured to launch the GC101 campaign on Monday 14 November. This was an initiative of Australian Apprenticeship Support Network provider, BUSY at Work. The campaign coincides with the end of the school year, targeting those finishing year 12, and aims to get 101 young people into an apprenticeship by Christmas. Local employers who have not taken on an apprentice before, or who have not taken one on for many years, are being actively encouraged to get involved, and the response after just 2½ weeks has been very encouraging. We are very hopeful of achieving the target, and there is a very good chance we may even exceed it—which is great, and fantastic news for the Gold Coast. It is a great example of what can be done when the business community gets behind a very worthwhile and important campaign like GC101.
As I mentioned, apart from getting young people into jobs and on the way to a rewarding career, GC101 is also helping to raise the status of vocational education and training and the many opportunities it offers. Many people would not know that there are over 450 career options available through apprenticeships. It is not just the traditional trades like plumbing and carpentry or hairdressing—you can take an apprenticeship as a construction shot firer working in the mining industry or make your way into the IT sector, where you will find many jobs of the future. University is not for everyone, and through this campaign many more people on the Gold Coast are now aware that apprenticeships and vocational education offer a desirable and valued pathway to a job and career.
I commend BUSY at Work and my local business community in McPherson, and more broadly on the Gold Coast, for their efforts to make the GC101 campaign a success. As the Assistant Minister for Vocational Education and Skills I would like to see similar campaigns rolled out in other electorates around the country. Helping a young person to transition from school into a fulfilling career is one of the most rewarding things we can do as members of parliament and, when you combine that with a campaign that makes the wider community aware of the great opportunities provided by vocational education, it is a double win. I certainly encourage all of my colleagues here in federal parliament to get on board to do what we can to make sure that the young people of Australia have an opportunity to take up fulfilling jobs through vocational education.