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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2009 Week 12 Hansard (Thursday, 15 October 2009) . . Page.. 4547 ..

significant reform for schools, vocational education providers and universities. It dramatically changes the educational landscape. That is why we will spend 2010 consulting widely to make sure that the ACT community, children, young people and their parents are provided with information regarding the new participation requirements. Schools, employers, training providers and parents will be engaged and kept fully informed of the implications of these changes.

As I have said, the time has come for everyone to stand up and take responsibility. All of our children and young people will be learning or earning. To those who say that this is impossible, to those who say that some kids cannot do it, we say: stop making excuses. Socioeconomic status does not determine achievement. We know that going on to year 12 or to university is not the best choice for all students. The government recognises this, so every young Canberran will be studying, training or working after year 10 in a way that suits their needs, their abilities and their plans for the future. Options to complete year 10 will be flexible, too. Students will not be forced to stay in school. It will be their choice, and it will be a flexible choice.

We are already on the right track. We have been listening, we have been investing and we have been delivering. We are investing in careers and vocational education in our schools. Our $3.4 million investment in additional careers teachers and the CIT’s certificate IV in career development will assist with student transitions and choices.

Students are learning about their educational options early on. CIT is providing high schools with a “taster” experience of vocational courses. In 2009, five courses are being offered in automotive, forensics, hair, beauty and pastry production. We are also investing in apprenticeships; $12.2 million was provided to registered training organisations in 2008 to deliver Australian apprenticeships. An extra $4.1 million was provided in the budget for our user choice program to meet the continuing high demand for Australian apprenticeships; $1.4 million was allocated in the 2009-10 budget for 100 new Australian school-based apprenticeships and, to date, 65 schools have expressed an interest in taking an ASBA.

We are also working with industry and business. As part of the literacy and numeracy strategy 2009-13, teachers are developing practical curriculum and learning support materials to assist schools to improve employment-based numeracy. We want our students to be work-ready when they attain their qualifications. We are working with the commonwealth to invest almost a quarter of a million dollars to support schools to provide on-the-job training opportunities for vocational education and training in schools. We have been working with local business and industry to support apprentices and trainees in the ACT and to meet areas of skills demand. For example, over half a million dollars was recently allocated to extend the government’s vocational education and training consultation activities with business and industry in the ACT. Almost half a billion dollars of ACT investment in capital works in schools has also helped businesses through this tough economic time.

Why are we creating a compulsory education age and making sure that every kid is learning or earning? We do so because we know that education improves employment opportunities. Employment and lifelong learning give our young people a sense of purpose and engage them in the community. We know that students who undertake vocational education and training courses at school are much more likely to be

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