Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2005 Week 11 Hansard (Wednesday, 21 September 2005) . . Page.. 3510 ..
as stated in the white paper, the ACT’s is on track to being the first Australian school system to be fully connected to broadband services. The government bolstered the capacity to focus on the vocational education and training needs of the ACT through establishing two new sections within its training and adult education branch. They are the career transition section and the new apprenticeships and VET initiatives section. The ACT government also continues to promote the importance of training to the ACT community.
I recently represented the Minister for Education and Training to announce the winners of the 2005 Adult Learners Week awards. These awards recognise the outstanding achievements in adult and community education. One of the main purposes of the week is to remind people that learning is for everyone. A great way to do that is to recognise the achievements of adult learners, teachers and organisations. Adult and community education complements the formal ACT education structure, in that it is committed to offering lifelong educational opportunities to all. This includes newcomers to the ACT, working people and professionals, those in transitional career change, older citizens, persons with special needs, and especially those who have not been able to participate more fully in formal education. In the Canberra plan this government has clearly stated its commitment to continuing support for adult community education as a means of promoting lifelong learning.
We also provide a school-based new apprenticeships program, which has proved a big success with its focus on supporting young people transitioning from school to employment. As of August, there were 256 new commencements in the SNAP program this year, with approximately 47 per cent of these young people currently gaining invaluable skills in the building and construction industry. Through our commitment to VET, the ACT government is continuing to ensure that any skills shortage in the ACT is addressed quickly. Due to the increase in its enrolments in the 2003-04 year, it is likely in the coming years that many apprentices trained in key areas will enter the territory work force. It is my belief that this will result in the ACT continuing to enjoy one of the best-trained and most talented work forces.
I would now like to quickly turn to the issue of mature age employment. It is true our population is ageing, but it is possible to see this as creating opportunities both for the city and for the individuals concerned. People can continue to earn an income and contribute to the city through meaningful work. How can this be achieved? Members may note that the commitment has been made to address mature age employment in priority 1 of the Canberra social plan, as part of the wider Canberra plan. In pursuing this goal, an action plan is under development and, to date, work on this has included a host of initiatives: hosting a mature age employment summit; establishing a working group; engaging a consultant to prepare the issues paper; drafting this into the draft action plan; and undertaking the viability draft action plan. These are many things this government is doing to address the issue.
MR SESELJA (Molonglo) (5.52): I am very happy to support the original motion put forward by Mr Mulcahy today. I commend him for his ongoing interest in this area. It is, as has been acknowledged on both sides of the house, a particularly important area and one that I am happy to have a debate about.