Page 1121 - Week 04 - Wednesday, 25 March 2015

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As of 18 March—less than a month after its launch—a total of 1,214 enrolments had occurred in the skilled capital qualification. Many of these enrolments have been at CIT. I take the opportunity to acknowledge CIT’s important role in supporting skilled capital and in providing high quality vocational education in the ACT and I acknowledge the benefit that that training will bring to individuals and the community as a whole for many years to come.

MADAM SPEAKER: A supplementary question, Ms Fitzharris.

MS FITZHARRIS: Minister, how have employers and industry groups been involved in the development of skilled capital?

MS BURCH: I thank Ms Fitzharris for her interest in this. Skilled capital represents a comprehensive answer to challenges faced by students, training providers, industry and employers. After developing the skills needs list, the Education and Training Directorate consulted extensively with employers and representatives of ACT key industry groups about the availability of skills and what their sectors needed most. We engaged with stakeholders, both through the industry forums and through a skills need survey, to seek broad community input. Consultations also allowed us to hear industry and employer concerns about some themes that are present throughout all programs. This includes the importance of quality training, consultation and communication, and foundation skills.

With the addition of skilled capital to an already vibrant VET sector here, we are seeking to raise the profile of VET. To do so, we are increasing stakeholder engagement and awareness of the sector’s importance. I would like all students to see VET as a viable option leading to progressive career paths. Skilled capital will help ensure that the benefits of the VET sector are better understood. While improved stakeholder engagement by the ACT government will go some way to addressing this challenge, we also have to rely on both our public and private providers to support this agenda through the continued provision of quality training here in the ACT.

MADAM SPEAKER: A supplementary question, Dr Bourke.

DR BOURKE: Minister, how does skilled capital ensure that all Canberrans participate in training opportunities?

MS BURCH: Dr Bourke, thank you for that question. Reducing barriers and increasing completions are built into skilled capital’s design. In order to support the capacity of the ACT to achieve the training targets agreed in the ACT’s skills reform implementation plan, skilled capital was designed to include additional supports for disadvantaged and under-represented groups, including Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders, the long-term unemployed and people with a disability.

Since its launch in February this year, 23 per cent of skilled capital’s students have had concession fees applied. These concessions and the additional funding provided as part of skilled capital support disadvantaged students and will ensure that the most vulnerable members of the community have access to affordable government-subsidised training.

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