Wimmera Trade Training Centre under review

OFFICIAL OPENING: University of Ballarat vice-chancellor David
Battersby and Grampians assistant regional director Peter Henry open
the university’s Wimmera Trade Training Centre site. Picture: SAMANTHA CAMARRI

OFFICIAL OPENING: University of Ballarat vice-chancellor David Battersby and Grampians assistant regional director Peter Henry open the university’s Wimmera Trade Training Centre site. Picture: SAMANTHA CAMARRI

WIMMERA employment and training organisations have defended Wimmera Trade Training Centre after the Federal Government announced a review of its quality.

Federal Assistant Education Minister Sussan Ley said industry figures had raised concerns about inconsistencies from one trade centre to the next.

"We need to get more kids into trades and training if we are to address the nation's skills shortages, but it also needs to be high-quality and include on-the-job experience to be effective," she said.

The 341 trade training centres operating across the nation will be subject to review.

Wimmera Trade Training Centre opened at Longerenong in 2010 and in Horsham in 2012.

Wimmera Southern Mallee Local Learning and Employment Network executive officer Tim Shaw said if the review resulted in any funding cut to the trade centre, it would hurt education in the region.

"It would have a very detrimental impact," he said. "We've got a lot of young people who perhaps don't want to follow a tertiary education path and many young people who want to take a skills or trade-based career pathway."

WorkCo general manager Dean Luciani said the centre was of enormous value to the Wimmera. "From a local perspective I think our trade training centre has been an outstanding success," he said.

"I understand the government wants to review all spending at the moment, but I'd like to think what we've got locally is a real positive."

Mr Shaw said the trade centre provided a high standard of hands-on learning.

"People should be aware the training provided throughout the Wimmera is very good," he said. "The trade training centre provides state-of-the-art trade training for our young people."

ON THE JOB: Wimmera secondary student representatives Callum Burns and Ashleigh Dwyer opening the Horsham College-based Wimmera
Trade Training Centre site in 2012. Pictures: SAMANTHA CAMARRI

ON THE JOB: Wimmera secondary student representatives Callum Burns and Ashleigh Dwyer opening the Horsham College-based Wimmera Trade Training Centre site in 2012. Pictures: SAMANTHA CAMARRI

Wimmera Trade Training Centre offers courses in agriculture, building and construction, plumbing, community services, furniture-making and engineering. It has 350 students this year.

Horsham College, Birchip P-12, Dimboola Memorial Secondary College, Edenhope College, Goroke P-12, Hopetoun Secondary College, Kaniva Secondary College, Murtoa College, Nhill College, Rainbow Secondary College, Warracknabeal Secondary College and St Brigid's College all send students to the training centre.

Wimmera Southern Mallee LLEN was one of the organisations that pushed for the centre to be funded. Mr Shaw said the centre helped retain population in the Wimmera because young people did not have to move away for training.

"It enables young people to do locally-based training and find jobs locally," he said. "That's really important right across the Wimmera."

Public servant Patricia Scott will lead the review.

Ms Ley said the review would look at how facilities were used, the training provided and training outcomes.

"Trade training centres operate under 20-year contracts, so this review is about ensuring they deliver taxpayers and students maximum value," she said.

Review results will go to the government later in the year.

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