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(08) 9964 2195    (08) 9192 7216

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(02) 6277 7840  (08) 9041 1749

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Speeches

Vocational Education and Training

Last week I had the pleasure of opening the Newman Trade Training Centre, which is located in Newman Senior High School, allowing the young people of Newman to embark on a new lifelong journey. This particular centre was built with $1.5 million from the Australian government. It will allow the students to take lessons in engineering and metal fabrication design. Some students will gain a qualification in Certificate II Engineering, and they all will experience life beyond school. It is a real launching pad for the young people of the Pilbara, and it was particularly pleasing to see so many young women in the first cohort.

Newman is some 1,200 kilometres north of Perth. It is in the eastern Pilbara in my electorate of Durack. It is essentially a BHP mining town, with a giant iron ore mine right on its doorstep. The new trade training centre is offering specific training opportunities for students, as well as pathways to satisfying jobs and careers. And many have mining, construction and allied callings, including tourism, firmly in their sights. The new facilities at Newman Trade Training Centre will give students the best chance to learn workplace skills. Skills training through a trade training centre at a secondary school provides a basis for students to pursue further training after school or to enter the workplace. Trade training centres do have a special role in engaging young people who may have switched off from mainstream education. It is a very effective hook.

The centre demonstrates to all in the region the federal government's commitment to building an education system that equips students to succeed in an increasingly competitive world. We all know that the skills we teach in schools must meet the needs of industry. The Newman Trade Training Centre is doing just that as it partners with BHP Billiton and other local businesses which support many of the school's programs to enhance and enrich students' learning. It is a clear example of the training provided in school aligned to meet the needs of the local economy and workforce demand.

I take this opportunity to congratulate all who worked very hard to make this centre a reality, and acknowledge the hard work of the Principal of Newman Senior High School, Ms Milanna Heberle, and the VET team.

A fire swept through the Newman Senior High School last October, causing extensive damage of around $4 million. I wish to pay tribute to the school, led by Principal Heberle, for the positive way that the school community rolled up its sleeves to enable the students to continue with their studies and education. But why should I be surprised? That is the Pilbara way and that is their can-do attitude.

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