MS TIERNEY (Western Victoria—Minister for Training and Skills, Minister for Higher Education) (11:43): On 30 March I joined the Acting Premier, my good friend Ms Watt, employers, unions and many apprentices at the metro launch of Apprenticeships Victoria. Apprenticeships Victoria is a new division of the Department of Education and Training. It will help support thousands of Victorians into study and work. It is focused on giving people the foundations they need to build a great career in the trades. It will help up to 1500 people per year pick the right trade for them and then match them up with the right employer and training organisation, boosting the number of apprentices and trainees across the state and ensuring that we have got the pipeline of skilled workers needed to deliver new rail, roads, TAFEs, hospitals and social housing. It will provide the support people need to stick with their trade and come out the other end with a trade certificate.
Apprenticeships Victoria is overseeing our investment of over $66 million in new programs for apprentices and trainees through Big Build apprenticeships, our TAFE demonstration projects, the retrenchment apprenticeship program and women in trades, just to name a few. In June Apprenticeships Victoria will open a one-stop shop in the CBD for apprentices and employers to visit and get connected.
It was great to meet two of our apprentice champions at the launch: Jodie Dickson and Andrew Bamblett. Both Jodie and Andy are great examples of hands-on learning, studying at TAFE and working hard to build the infrastructure our state needs. We know that apprentices and trainees are critical to rebuilding our economy. Supporting apprentices and trainees is an investment in our future, so I invite all members to get behind Apprenticeships Victoria.