MS TIERNEY (Western Victoria—Minister for Training and Skills, Minister for Higher Education) (12:23): I am incredibly proud to update the chamber on the important role that Apprenticeships Victoria plays in supporting apprentices and trainees to achieve qualifications that are a career passport for life. This government is absolutely committed to ensuring that apprentices and trainees succeed, and that is why in this year’s budget we announced $12 million for the apprenticeship support officer program.
During the past few weeks I have been very pleased to meet apprentices, trainees and employers in the workplace and at Apprenticeships Victoria’s headquarters in Melbourne. The positive reaction to the apprenticeship support officer program announcement has been absolutely fantastic. One of those workplaces was the construction site of the incredibly important Victorian Heart Hospital in Clayton, where I joined the Premier, Minister Pulford and local member Steve Dimopoulos to announce 300 new building and construction sector apprenticeships and traineeships across Victoria by mid-2023. Sixty per cent of those places will be earmarked for women. We met Nadia Conte, who is an apprentice carpenter working on that site. Nadia spoke of how her career choice is right for her and said that she felt really supported as an apprentice.
Employers, trainers, apprentices and trainees really value the role of apprenticeship support officers, who play a great role in assisting people to transition from the classroom to the workplace to be fully qualified in their field. This additional personal support leads to stronger completion rates. It is this government which is driving a renaissance in vocational education and training. We have set the benchmark for vocational education and training to be a fine alternative to university, not a second choice but the right choice for so many Victorians.