MS TIERNEY (Western Victoria—Minister for Training and Skills, Minister for Higher Education) (14:04:40): Today I want to inform the house of yet another example of how the Andrews government’s revitalisation of Victoria’s TAFE system is changing people’s lives.
In March I had the pleasure of opening the Berwick Centre for Health at the Chisholm Institute of TAFE. Built with a $10 million grant from this government, the centre features nurse training and simulation laboratories, learning areas and of course staff accommodation.
Its location in the Berwick health and education precinct provides opportunities for partnerships with local hospitals and universities.
The centre is providing hands-on learning and practical work experience for Victorians to get the skills they need for the jobs that they want. Many of the students at the centre and at Chisholm TAFE more broadly have been able to take advantage of this government’s free TAFE initiative.
I met dozens of students at the opening, including Marty Lasker, whose story I want to share with you today. After leaving school in year 9, Marty was homeless for many years and suffered from addiction. In the months before he started at Chisholm, Marty had begun to turn his life around and so, when the opportunity arose to study for free, he grabbed it. Marty is now undertaking a certificate IV in youth work and hopes to lead a community centre or open his own youth refuge.
I will give the last word to Marty, who said, and I quote: Free TAFE has honestly given me the chance to follow what I’ve always dreamt of doing. I used to have a really bad life on the streets but now because of free TAFE it’s given me the chance to do something good. Then I can give back and work with the kids on the streets—I can do that well because that’s where I’ve come from.