Australia's trade minister, Simon Crean.
Australia's trade minister, Simon Crean. Sunshine Coast Daily/Chris McCormack

Crean talks up trainee schemes

CALVES and thighs got a work out as a media circus followed Education, Employment and Workplace Relations Minister Simon Crean when he toured Gladstone Area Group Apprentices Ltd (GAGAL) yesterday.

Mr Crean, followed by Indigenous Health Minister Warren Snowdon and Member for Flynn Chris Trevor, inspected workshops and met trainees and apprentices. There were no new funding announcements during Mr Crean’s visit.

“Clearly this is a region that is going gang busters,” Mr Crean said.

“The last resources boom taught us that there were serious skills shortages and that held us back.

“We’ve got to make sure that we don’t create the same problem in the next resources boom.

“We’ve got a whole range of programs to drive the skills and training agenda forward.

“The trade training centres in schools is an important option by which we can bring people in years 9, 10, 11 and 12 to actually end up with a qualification at the end of school that qualifies them to enter the workforce.”

He said these students don’t want to study subjects relevant for university education as they had already decided they did not want to go to university.

Mr Crean said they wanted a qualification that was vocationally recognised and accepted by employers.

“This is a program we’ve invested some $2.5 billion over a 10-year period,” he said.

“If Tony Abbott is elected, that program will be scrapped.

“Countries that invest in skills have stronger productivity.

“The programs here are particularly pertinent because the are about trying to close the gap. The gap between indigenous people who really do miss out. Miss out more than kids in the mainstream system, so we have to have targeted programs that pick them up.”



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