Gladstone to gain new technical college
By SAM BENGERsamb@gladstoneobserver.com.au
GLADSTONE will be one of the first cities in Australia selected to host an Australian Technical College.
But local educators are wary of wasting funds on a new system when similar programs already exist.
Member for Hinkler Paul Neville and Vocational and Technical Education Minister Gary Hardgrave made the announcement yesterday, saying the college would offer trade training and technical education to high school students.
Of the 24 colleges, there will be three established in Queensland ? Gladstone, the Gold Coast and Townsville.
'This technical college will create more opportunities for students and build on existing strengths within the system ? it will allow kids to pick up apprenticeships from Year 11 and combine three or four academic subjects with training,' Mr Neville said.
He said current school-based traineeships, like those offered at Toolooa State High School, would be expanded on a greater scale using elements from the existing model.
However, training expert Dave Burns said only a limited number of positions existed for apprentices in the Gladstone region, including Biloela, and a technical college would not address the skills shortage.
'We don't need more apprentices, we need more positions for them to fill ? the federal government has lost the plot ? we'll end up with the highest trained unemployed kids around if they proceed with this,' he said.
Mr Burns accused the federal government of "making policy on the run'' and said instead of developing a new college, programs already in place should be co-ordinated and streamlined.
'Employers scream about the skills shortage but won't employ apprentices without some kind of training. We should be targeting the employers instead of training the kids without having anywhere for them to go,' he said.