Vocational education and training (VET) can play a key role in helping grow the local economy of Indi by providing the skilled workforce local industries need according to Assistant Minister for Vocational Education and Skills, the Hon Karen Andrews.
Minister Andrews made the comments while visiting the electorate in northern Victoria and meeting with local stakeholders in vocational education at the invitation of local Federal Member Cathy McGowan.
“After meeting with Ms McGowan in Canberra in March along with local representatives of the dairy industry I am pleased to be able to visit the electorate to discuss issues around vocational education,” Minister Andrews said.
“Like many parts of regional Australia, we know that young people in Indi are more likely to use VET as a pathway to a job and career, supporting local industries like agriculture, viticulture, tourism and manufacturing.
A meeting of local stakeholders hosted by North East Local Learning and Employment Network (NELLEN) discussed a range of issues around VET delivery and the role industry can play.
“The Coalition Government has introduced reforms to VET that place industry at the centre of vocational education,” Minister Andrews said.
“Our Skills Service Organisations (SSOs) and Industry Reference Committees (IRC) will ensure that students are learning the skills through VET that employer are looking for.
“I am committed to raising the status and value of VET that is delivering training locally to nearly 30,000 people in Indi and nearly 3000 apprentices,” Minister Andrews said.
“If local industries are to achieve their full potential we need more people undertaking vocational education to meet their growing need for skilled workers.”
The Assistant Minister also attended a conference looking at ways to promote the number of females enrolling in science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) courses through VET.
“As a Mechanical Engineer, I’m passionate about STEM subjects and encouraging more girls to take up these subjects,” Minister Andrews said.
“We know that STEM will provide the pathway to many of the jobs of the future but at the moment just under 20 per cent of students are females.
“I congratulate those involved in the local STEM Community of Practice (CoP) to support women who are studying or thinking of studying STEM at tertiary or high school level.
“The Turnbull Government is providing $24 million for 1200 Rural and Regional Enterprise scholarships to encourage students in STEM and I encourage all young people in Indi with an interest in these fields to apply,” Minister Andrews said.
The Minister also visited local schools offering VET and a TAFE college before joining an Industry Roundtable involving key education, training and industry representatives from the electorate.
“Discussions like these are extremely important in providing feedback from those at the forefront of vocational education delivery and to assist in the development of future Government policy for the sector,” Minister Andrews said.