Saturday, August 24, 2013

Trade Training Centres and Preparing for the 21st Century

Few things better illustrate the difference between the Government and the Opposition than our approach to education.  With the Better Schools Plan, the $2.5 billion investment in Trade Training Centres, and the focus on improving Asia-literacy through education, this Government has demonstrated it not only understands the needs of today’s students, but has anticipated the needs of tomorrow’s students, and the needs of young people entering the workforce in the 21st Century.   

On 14 August, the Prime Minister and Minister Shorten announced $209.8 million to build 137 new Trades Training Centres, benefitting 225 schools across the country.  

This investment is part of Federal Labor’s positive plan to ensure all Australian students are given every opportunity to secure high-skill, high-wage jobs beyond the China mining investment boom.

This funding represents the next instalment (Round Five, Phase One) of the Rudd Labor Government’s highly successful 10 year $2.5 billion Trades Training Centres in Schools program.

As a result of this announcement, the Trades Training Centres in Schools program has committed $1.4 billion for more than 510 Trades Training Centres, benefitting more than 1,290 secondary schools. Over 60 per cent of these schools are located in regional Australia.

Of the projects previously announced, over 70 per cent have already been built – this is a great achievement considering the first funding round only opened in March 2008.

Federal Labor will continue to invest in new Trade Training Centres if re-elected to ensure young Australians gain the skills they need by providing a further $200 million under Round Five (Phase Two) of the program.

These Trades Training Centres are concrete evidence of Federal Labor’s determination to ensure every young Australian can get the skills they need to succeed, no matter what field they want to build a career in. 

The Prime Minister said this election is all about choices.  In relation to education, that choice is stark.  Labor has the strategic vision to give Australia schools fit for the 21st Century; to give students a world-leading education; and to prepare tomorrow’s school leavers for the high-skilled workforce that Australia needs. 

And through the Better Schools Plan, the Trade Training Centre Program, the Building the Education Revolution, the Digital Education Revolution, and other initiatives, the Government has committed the required resources to achieve these ambitious goals.

On the other hand, the Opposition tries to pass platitudes off as policies.  And in an example of a statement on the run, the Opposition’s pledge to partially match the funding for the Better Schools Program fell well short of the resources required, and lacked any framework to ensure that funds were properly spent.  And the fiscal black hole of tens of billions of dollars in the Opposition’s policies means they will be cutting rather than funding. 

For the sake of Australia’s education, and for Australia’s future that depends on a quality education system, the choice is clear – vote Labor.

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