Page 3755 - Week 10 - Thursday, 14 September 2017

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collaborating with forward thinking bodies, such as the CBR Innovation Network, peak industry bodies and other tertiary and research institutions connecting CIT students with other leaders in Australia’s knowledge capital. It is fantastic to see the CIT, in particular, embracing innovation and providing students with the best support in building the skills necessary for the wider economy.

CIT have placed a high priority on the preparation of students entering this changing and complex area of Canberra’s digital economy. To meet this incoming demand for digital jobs and IT workers with cutting-edge skills, CIT has partnered with one of the nation’s leading IT companies, Dialog, to develop the ICT careers program. Fifteen certificate IV students studying information technology will be given the opportunity to continue their education as industry trainees for Dialog. This unique opportunity directly addresses the need for more students to learn about the ways that technology is being deployed in Canberra and will help to facilitate graduates to gain entry into this new and exciting area of our economy. While undertaking the program, students will be offered the opportunity to continue their studies and gain further skills by completing a diploma of information technology during their time on the job with Dialog.

The ACT has become a hub for renewable energy industry investment, growth and development, and research and product development, as well as education and training, driven by our government’s responsible approach to climate change and the environment. Over the next five years, the CIT will extend quality vocational training initiatives, with qualifications in wind, solar, sustainability and a range of associated programs, including construction and contract management, workplace safety, conservation and land management and project management, all part of the CIT’s renewable energy skills centre of excellence.

These innovative programs are building on Canberra’s reputation as a destination for first-class education. Our CIT is drawing students from across Australia and all over the world to take part in innovative programs, an export trade that contributes to our economy locally. Last year, 18.8 per cent of all students were from New South Wales, 11.5 per cent came from other states and 5.6 per cent came to study from other countries. This is a great achievement that proves the many strengths of the VET sector in the ACT.

During my time in the Assembly, I have spoken ad nauseam regarding the importance of early childhood education and development. The economic evidence is unequivocal: if we invest in our young children by providing quality early childhood education, delivered by qualified educators who are trained through our quality VET system, we can amplify children’s development. This in turn has profound economic benefits in children’s later education and when they enter the workforce. We know from PricewaterhouseCoopers modelling that the benefits to gross domestic product of children receiving a quality education and care program are $10.3 billion cumulative to 2050.

The Spark west Belconnen and Parkwood training and employment initiative has recognised these facts. The Spark training initiative was developed in collaboration with the Land Development Agency and Riverview developments, Belconnen

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