TRADE TALKS: Federal Minister Gary Hardgrave in Lismore to discuss a new Lismore/Ballina Australian Technical College.
TRADE TALKS: Federal Minister Gary Hardgrave in Lismore to discuss a new Lismore/Ballina Australian Technical College.

Promise of 300 new apprenticeships

By ZOE SATHERLEY

THREE hundred new apprenticeships might be on offer to Northern Rivers high school students as early as the first term next year.

Federal Vocational and Technical Education Minister Gary Hardgrave delivered the training promise yesterday in Lismore.

The Minister, and Federal Member for Page Ian Causley, hosted a community forum at the Lismore Workers Club to discuss the setting up of the new Lismore-Ballina Australian Technical College for students in Years 11 and 12.

Under the new scheme students would combine academic studies with trades-based courses and on-the-job work experience.

Building trades, metal fabrication, commercial cookery, electrical, automotive, aviation and electronics are just some of the possible courses that are under consideration.

The college will be one of 24 throughout Australia promised by the Federal Government before the last election.

However, don't go expecting a brand new building.

Existing TAFE, high school and training buildings may be utilised, with the new college 'brokering' services.

Business and industry partnerships are crucial to the model.

Jenny Macklin, Shadow Minister for Education and Training, said yesterday the Federal Government should invest money into TAFE colleges and local schools which already had vocational training programs in place.



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