Page 1106 - Week 04 - Wednesday, 25 March 2015

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Late last year the Labor government passed legislation that prescribed new governance arrangements for the CIT. The primary feature of this new framework is that CIT is now a statutory authority with a governing board, able to make its own decisions in the best interests of CIT and the students and community it serves. This governing board will provide greater flexibility and agility in decision-making, which is appropriate for CIT when competing with other training providers. It is important that the CIT be given the ability to adapt to the ever changing needs of our economy, including the encouragement the economic participation of women and the changing focus of energy markets to sustainable sources of energy.

When I was looking into the very broad range of courses on offer at CIT I was pleased to learn that women are increasingly pursuing careers in trade occupations that have long been viewed as the domain of men. Technology has changed the way as a community we work, with strength and physicality no longer defining capability in traditional industries. The major obstacle for women entering trade courses has been a lack of awareness about these careers. At the end of the school year last year the CIT took the opportunity to highlight the inspiring stories of young women in trades to continue to encourage other young women to take on apprenticeships. As at the end of 2014, 96 women were enrolled in traditional trade courses such as automotive, plumbing, electrotechnology, carpentry and commercial cookery.

CIT have also partnered with the National Association for Women in Construction—NAWIC—to offer the CIT-NAWIC women in construction scholarship. This scholarship is available to assist women to gain qualifications to provide an opportunity for the personal and professional development of female building and construction professionals, whether in technical, management or policy roles. Three scholarships are available in 2015, valued at up to $1,000 each, and they are open for women 17 years or older.

I was also pleased to hear that as of 2016 CIT will offer new qualifications and bespoke training facilities in renewable wind technology, another aspect of helping to establish the ACT as the premier knowledge and education hub of this emerging field in Australia. Unfortunately, the federal government turned its back on a long-term commitment to retain the renewable energy target as it is. The uncertainty caused by this backflip has led to reduced investment in our renewable energy industry. The Climate Council’s Tim Flannery said:

We’ve had a loss of 70 per cent of new investment in renewable energy in this country, and when you compare that with the US and China, which are powering ahead—China particularly at record levels—it’s a pretty sorry state of affairs.

I agree. Regardless, renewable energy sources are a vital part of the energy mix and will only grow in significance as we move from the use of fossil fuel to more sustainable resources. The investment in training at the CIT’s new centre of excellence is expected to attract students from Canberra, interstate and abroad. The training will appeal to new learners and people wishing to upskill to work in this exciting, expanding industry—another example of CIT understanding the market in which we are operating.

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