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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2008 Week 10 Hansard (Tuesday, 26 August 2008) . . Page.. 3596 ..

school and who, in some cases, come from disadvantaged backgrounds or dysfunctional backgrounds and are seen to be at sea with what they want out of their schooling. Those kids have got to be kept in the system. We have got to encourage that percentage of kids to get on with their schooling, complete their schooling, with pride. In many cases, it is the VET stream that will offer them the opportunities. We all have stories in this place, particularly people of Ms Porter’s and my generation, of what was available and how kids were, indeed, encouraged once upon a time, early in their high school lives, to perhaps take a practical pathway.

I therefore commend the report. It is a report that is well detailed. I thank my colleagues. As I say, I was a Johnny-come-lately, but I enjoyed the participation in this particular inquiry. I have to thank Dr Lilburn, the secretary of the committee, who very competently and technically steered our direction. It was a very worthwhile report. It goes to the heart of one of the most important things that we as an Assembly can be focusing on—the development of our kids. The most important resource we have here in the ACT is that younger generation who have to move on and one day lead the way. This particular inquiry goes very much to the heart of examining issues on that.

I commend this report to the government. I do hope the government has a good, hard look at it and sees where they can value add to the approaches they have started to take on VET in our education system.

MRS BURKE (Molonglo) (12.27): I will not say too much on this. I do have an inherent interest in this topic, given that it was the area that I worked in prior to coming into politics. I was working with the ACT Chamber of Commerce and Industry, particularly in relation to school-based new apprenticeships and the student to industry program.

I am happily now just going through the report, and it is pleasing to see how much the position has come on from where it was when I was last in the system and to note, too, the work of the current government in doing some of the things to try to address skills shortages. We seem to have gone ahead in leaps and bounds in some areas and yet, in others, I know that we really need to try to hasten some of those activities to make sure that we can meet those needs of the future.

At one stage when I was working with the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry looking at the whole national perspective, we identified some of those key areas, and they still seem to be key areas today probably 10 years later. That is what I am saying. That is the difference with some things that are gone through quickly. We are working well at the school level. I think we are breaking in students to understand the practicality that university is not for everybody. I think that we do need to have alternative pathways. The report does talk about pathways, and I think it really is important that we have an opportunity for young people to follow a path that suits them, not necessarily university, but, certainly, through attaining a skill or a trade via an apprenticeship.

I think it is worth noting that it is an extensive report and that the recommendations that are made hopefully will be taken on board—we are running out of time with this

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