Page 1609 - Week 05 - Thursday, 8 May 2008

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CIT will get skilled workers into the workforce faster and will also make apprenticeships more appealing, most particularly to mature aged students and those seeking a career change.

These latest innovations in apprenticeship training are based on the CIT fast-track apprenticeship program that was introduced in 2006. The accelerated chefs program enables apprentices to complete their training in two years instead of four. The success of this program is partly why the CIT won the 2007 Qantas Australian tourism award for the best tourism education and training organisation in Australia for the second year in a row and the fifth time overall. These fast-track apprenticeships are just part of what the ACT government and the CIT are doing to address the local impacts of the national skills shortage caused, as I have said, by 11 years of underinvestment in skills and training by the former federal Liberal government.

Last November, I had the opportunity and the great pleasure to launch the CIT vocational college, another innovation providing students with the opportunity to develop essential skills whilst studying in areas that have high demand for new employees, such as childcare, aged care, automotive, engineering and hairdressing. The vocational college opens up new education options and pathways to study and work for people of all ages, offering essential skills and job training for around 3,000 young, mature age and recently arrived migrant students each year.

Last June saw the launch of the ACT’s first Australian school-based apprenticeship certificate level 3 in plumbing, which provides students with the opportunity to start a plumbing apprenticeship whilst completing their ACT year 12 certificate. This program is a partnership between the ACT government and, in this case, the licensed plumbers who have taken on these apprenticeships and without whose support the program would not be such a success. The ACT government is also doing its bit in this regard and is now offering young Canberrans the opportunity to gain their year 12 certificate whilst also learning skills on the job in the ACT public service, through the ACT Department of Education and Training.

I should point out at this point that one of the CIT’s strengths is its partnership with one of the ACT’s other great learning institutions, the University of Canberra. This partnership is a nationally recognised model of excellence, offering both vocational training and university education to students. The flexibility of these education options provides ACT students with wide-ranging options for career skills training.

Besides the great careers the CIT has helped so many Canberrans build, one of the best indicators of the institute’s effectiveness can be found in its enrolments. Last year, the CIT had 2,698 program enrolments in apprenticeship or traineeship programs. That is an eight per cent increase from 2006. Through the CIT’s partnerships with both large and small local and national employers in delivering apprenticeships, around 1,675 employers took on CIT apprentices and trainees during 2007. Last year, the CIT enrolled 106 school-based apprentices, a 23 per cent increase on the previous year.

Since 2001, the Stanhope government has made record investments in public education and in vocational education and training to ensure that Canberra and

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