ALP promises TAFE student positions
THERE would be more student places available at TAFE campuses in Maclean and Grafton under a Federal Labor Government, Opposition spokesman on employment services and training Anthony Albanese said in Grafton. Mr Albanese made the announcement with the Labor candidate for Page, Kevin Bell, during a pre-election visit to the Grafton TAFE College. He said Labor would provide an extra 20,000 TAFE places Australia-wide under an agreement with state governments, with most places going to areas identified as having educational disadvantage. The North Coast fell into that category. He said that according to the Government's JobSearch website in the Page electorate, there were 141 vacancies for skilled workers in the 'traditional' trades, including 14 carpenters and joiners; 13 motor mechanics; 11 electricians; six plumbers and 16 chefs. He said all new places would be vocational. "The places will be allocated proportionately, but in terms of need," he said. "At the moment there are positions available for skilled workers but no skilled workers to take them. It is reported as the number one impediment to investment." Mr Albanese said a Federal Labor Government would work with state governments to identify skills shortages in different areas and allocate resources to meet them. In an area such as the Clarence Valley with a strong timber industry and an ageing population, resources could be allocated to improve the skills of people intending to work in those fields. He also announced a proposal for a mature-age worker support centre on the North Coast if Labor won office.