Page 1102 - Week 04 - Wednesday, 25 March 2015

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CIT, with its broad range of courses and its expansion to new modes of delivery, is well placed to address the needs of adults seeking to diversify their skills, increase their existing qualifications or study to help them get a competitive edge in a competitive job market. CIT is also well placed in the ACT to support new and emerging skill market needs, such as in the renewable energy industry, and can offer an important first step towards higher qualifications in the ICT sector, which is important for the ACT. Again in that debate we often have in this place about the need for diversification of the economy I think that CIT is well placed to provide those skills.

Certainly I have been inspired by the fact that at Fyshwick we have an area that is training people to deal with electric cars, for example. And if that emerges in the way that we expect it should as a new form of transport in the future, having that training take place here in the ACT positions us very well both in terms of people coming from interstate—and I am aware that they have come—but also in having people trained in the ACT who are capable of stepping into those emerging job opportunities. We also need to ensure that we are offering the right kind of entry level courses for those who have recently left school or have social vulnerabilities. These courses need to be offering real-world training that supports a life education pathway and are linked where possible to identified skill shortages in the jobs market.

Wrapped around the excellent teaching and training available at CIT are the social support structures that come from being a student. For some newly arrived people, for example refugees particularly, or those who may have had a limited engagement with the education system, CIT offers a place of social inclusion and community. We need to ensure that the teaching and support staff at CIT are resourced in such a way as to enhance this aspect of study and continue to be seen as a friendly connection to overcoming many common barriers. Again, that really speaks to the nature of training that is available and the diversity.

Clearly university will not be suitable for everybody, and having the breadth of skills and the level of entry points available through CIT I think is very important as the ACT becomes an education jurisdiction, as we strive to develop that sector of our economy. Having the full spectrum with CIT available there as well I think is a very important offering in the education marketplace.

In closing, I am happy to support this motion, and I trust that the ACT government will continue to ensure that CIT remains a high quality and responsive training provider that meets the needs of its students, employers and the broader ACT community.

MR GENTLEMAN (Brindabella—Minister for Planning, Minister for Roads and Parking, Minister for Workplace Safety and Industrial Relations, Minister for Children and Young People and Minister for Ageing) (11.51): I thank Ms Porter for bringing this important matter to the attention of the Assembly this morning. As other members have pointed out, the public TAFE system in Canberra is a trusted, reliable and highly regarded provider of quality vocational education. As a former welding student of the Canberra Institute of Technology, I have come to realise the important role the TAFE system performs in the ACT. And it cannot be underestimated.

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