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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2021 Week 12 Hansard (Thursday, 25 November 2021) . . Page.. 3758 ..

The ACT’s overall investment in the VET sector is low and has been trending down significantly over the last 10 years. This is a worrying sign when nationally this is the sector we will be relying on to help us through the economic recovery. This is even more surprising considering this government’s touting of its major projects promises. Unfortunately, this may be one indicator of all talk and very little action.

MR DAVIS (Brindabella) (5.21): The last two years have no doubt been extremely difficult for anybody completing a course in vocational education. However, despite the circumstances, CIT students have performed extraordinarily well over the last two years, with their on-again, off-again COVID lockdown.

Strategic indicator No 1 of the CIT subsection of the budget papers described the rates of employment after training with CIT as being 15 percentage points higher than the national average within TAFE and other government providers of vocational education, which is a huge credit to CIT. CIT graduates have also exceeded the national performance in other measures, such as rates of undertaking further study after training and rates of gaining employment where employment was previously not held by a student.

In addition to these fabulous statistics, CIT students have excelled in their subject and module pass rates, culminating in a 90 per cent employer satisfaction rate. These statistics reflect both the dedication of CIT to a high quality of training and the drive of students to study with an acute degree of enthusiasm and devotion. This enthusiasm will no doubt be reflected by students that will study in future at the new CIT campus in Woden, which I look forward to seeing develop as the term continues.

As you know, Madam Speaker, as enthusiastic as I am to see the development of the new CIT hub in Woden, as a member for Brindabella, first and foremost, I have asked many questions in this place, and will continue to work with the minister to ensure CIT services continue to be offered to the people of Tuggeranong in the long term at a location and time that are convenient to them.

In particular, I am interested in continuing to explore the conversation over the next 12 months about how we can encourage young people in high school and college to take on particularly physical trades. We just heard my colleagues make presentations regarding the expenditure proposed in Major Projects. We know that the government has a long-term $5 billion pipeline for infrastructure. We know that, as recently as last week, the building and construction sector in particular continues to suffer from workforce shortages.

For a city that is historically known as being a white-collar public service town, it is incumbent upon us to put additional efforts into encouraging our young people into vocational education and trades. It is not just because that meets our strategic goals of building more homes for people that need them, building more schools for people that need them, and building our light rail and our roads; it is also because, as time goes on, a vocational trades certificate becomes one of the ways you can be most assured of a long-term, high-income career.

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