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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2015 Week 13 Hansard (Wednesday, 18 November 2015) . . Page.. 4158 ..

Both at home and abroad, much research has been undertaken to explore what apprentices and trainees will need to succeed in the economies of the future. We know that the ACT, like every state and territory, has unique economic needs. This government is committed to ensuring that the interests and needs of ACT students and businesses are represented in all discussions with our peers from other states and territories.

We need to work harder to integrate soft skills into VET curricula and to ensure that graduates are able to excel in all aspects of a world of work, not just have the ability to perform discrete tasks. This will also allow VET graduates to access a broader range of career pathways and will help to ensure that they are able to weather economic disruptions. It will also contribute to better social and health outcomes.

We also need to provide students with broader knowledge to underpin the skills that they learn from VET. This will shorten the time they need to upskill or retrain to achieve further career progression. VET must be seen as a viable career pathway for all students. This can only be achieved with certain conditions in place. We know that we need high quality providers producing graduates with excellent outcomes. We also need to continue educating the VET students, their parents and their career advisers about the short and long-term benefits of VET.

The reforms we have made to ACT’s VET system will help to ensure that we are well on the way to achieving these outcomes. A strong VET system benefits everyone and it offers individuals and families increased earnings and improved career prospects, and affords them the capacity to meaningfully contribute to the local economy and, more importantly, to the community. It ensures that businesses are able to meet their current and future skills needs, and it allows our local economy to benefit from the productivity and creativity only VET educated workers can bring to a workplace.

In short, a strong VET system will help make the ACT an even better place to live and work. I look forward to congratulating the successes of ACT representatives in the national training awards on Thursday night and working with my ministerial colleagues as we continue to progress the VET reforms. I want to thank Ms Fitzharris for bringing on this motion for discussion and for the general agreement from all in this place about the importance of VET for our community.

DR BOURKE (Ginninderra) (4.06): I thank Ms Fitzharris for bringing this motion to the Assembly. I welcome the ongoing contribution of this government and CIT in partnership with industry, to ensure that we have the best vocational education and training sector in the country. I congratulate Minister Burch on her work and commitment to continually improving vocational education and training in Canberra and keeping it relevant to the emerging needs of industry and the needs of our students.

Initiatives over the past year included the Skilled Capital initiative, a future directions review of vocational education and training in ACT public schools, the ACT Australian apprenticeships user choice program final report and the proposed qualification subsidy amounts, the reforms to the Canberra Institute of Technology governance and the appointment of a CIT board.

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