TRADE training centres like the brand new Peron facility at the Gilmore College in Kwinana are crucial for the future needs of the Australian economy, according to WA Senator Dean Smith.
Speaking at the official opening of the new $6.5 million facility last Friday, Senator Smith said they were important in providing young people with skills in areas where “we run the risk of skills shortages down the track”.
“There are skills shortages in cities, communities and regions throughout Australia, including for hospital assistants, laboratory technicians and process plant operators,” he said.
“They ensure that services we sometimes take for granted are ongoing.
“Mechanics keep our cars, buses and trucks on the road; while nursing support workers assist patients in hospital to a speedy recovery.
“If we don’t do something to address these shortages now, the knock-on effects on our economy and our society as a whole will be extremely serious.”
The state-of-the-art centre for process engineering has been built on the school’s campus and will be operated by the school and South Metropolitan Tafe.
Principal Rohan Smith said it included a plant simulation laboratory, chemistry laboratory and workshop.
“The biggest advantage in all of this is the expanded range of opportunities that will now be available to students who can opt to undertake university entry ATAR study pathways or an expanded suite of pre-apprenticeship or traineeship courses,” he said.
He said the centre aimed to train students to meet the workforce development needs of the Kwinana Industrial area and beyond.
Senator Smith said it would open up new opportunities for students.
“The opportunities that will be on offer here will give students real life skills, work skills and experience that will be valuable far beyond their school years,” he said.
He said skills taught in schools must meet the needs of industry.
“We need to make more effective use of existing facilities, build stronger partnerships between schools and local business, and focus on quality,” Senator Smith said. “It is crucial that the training provided in schools meets the needs of our economy and assists future growth.”
Senator Smith said the importance of vocational education and the development of skills should not be underestimated.
The Federal Government funded the centre as part of its Trade Training Centres in Schools Program.
“The opportunities that will be on offer here will give local students real life skills, work skills and experience that will be valuable far beyond their school years,” the senator said.
He said he hoped the students who used the centre would appreciate the opportunities available to them.