House of Representatives Speech- Isaacs Electorate: Building the Education Revolution Program

The Rudd government’s education revolution is ensuring that local students in our community in my electorate of Isaacs have better facilities, higher standards of teaching and greater opportunities to excel at school. The announcement last week that a trades training centre will be established in Frankston is another example of the difference that the education revolution is making in communities locally and across the country. The trades training centre is to be known as the Frankston School and TAFE Alliance for Regional Training, or Frankston START, which will be owned and managed by 13 government, independent and Catholic secondary schools in our area.

The Rudd government’s education revolution is ensuring that local students in our community in my electorate of Isaacs have better facilities, higher standards of teaching and greater opportunities to excel at school. The announcement last week that a trades training centre will be established in Frankston is another example of the difference that the education revolution is making in communities locally and across the country. The trades training centre is to be known as the Frankston School and TAFE Alliance for Regional Training, or Frankston START, which will be owned and managed by 13 government, independent and Catholic secondary schools in our area.

It is a wonderful use of the Trades Training Centres in Schools Program to put together this group of local schools in south-east Melbourne including one in my electorate, Carrum Downs Secondary College, and one, Patterson River Secondary College, which is attended by very many students who live in my electorate.

The purpose of the Trades Training Centres in Schools Program is to help young people become equipped with the skills they need to participate in the workforce of tomorrow. The new centre in Frankston will provide all local students with opportunities to gain qualifications in construction, hospitality and hairdressing trades, while continuing their high school studies.

That these schools have chosen to cluster together is also a great example of local government, Catholic and independent schools working together to provide the best outcomes for their students. The funding of this project is up to $20 million and that will allow the schools, in collaboration with Chisholm TAFE, to construct and equip a new facility at the Frankston campus of the Chisholm institute.

After the announcement, I spoke to Maree Vinocuroff, principal of Patterson River Secondary College, who was thrilled at the funding and the opportunities that Frankston students will have as a result of this project. Patterson River Secondary College is the lead school on the project and coordinated the application. As Ken McKay, the assistant principal at Patterson River Secondary College and the coordinator of the application has pointed out, ‘the courses provided by the centre have been targeted to meet skills shortfalls’.

It is critical to have trades training as a pathway in secondary schools. It is important because it is what many students want, it is important because it will help to lift year 12 retention rates and it is important because it is helping to align the demand and supply of much needed skills in the future.

While I am mentioning Patterson River Secondary College, I would also like to mention the eight very talented students from that school who performed at local seniors morning teas that I hosted in October at the Chelsea RSL. The students, Erin Morrissey and Kyra Collins, Hannah Littler, Alana Swallow, Nathan Darma, Rosalie Felburg, Louise Richards and Briana Vines were accomplished and professional and great representatives of their college, as was Astrid Smith who assisted.

I also want to mention how pleased I was to see that the member for Dunkley was so emphatic in his praise of this government’s initiatives. The honourable member even claimed it as a re-election promise of his, which is certainly an interesting take on what was a Rudd government program and a Labor Party commitment at the last election.

The Liberal Party’s policy at the last election was in fact to continue the failed Australian technical colleges model and to extend it to south-east Melbourne, despite the fact that, unlike the trade training centres, the model was completely disconnected from state and Catholic education systems.This welcoming by the member for Dunkley places him in stark contrast with the shadow minister, who regularly stands up in in this place and denigrates the largest school modernisation program ever undertaken in this country, who opposes the massive investment that has been made in putting computers in every secondary school and who will otherwise take every opportunity to undermine the Rudd government’s work on improving our schools for all students.

The Rudd government’s trade training centres initiative has been warmly welcomed in my electorate and in the neighbouring electorate of Dunkley, which is centred on Frankston. I am pleased to say that Carrum Downs Secondary College, which is a new school in my electorate—it had its first year 7 in 2004 and its first year 12 is this year—is a great new school and the trade training centre which it is now participating in, although based in Frankston, will be an excellent adjunct to the already full program offered by the Carrum Downs Secondary College. I commend the very energetic principal of Carrum Downs Secondary College who has led the school in its initial years, David Roycroft, for the wonderful job he has done in establishing a very large secondary college to serve the community of Carrum Downs. I wish him and all students well in this year 12.