MS TIERNEY (Western Victoria—Minister for Training and Skills, Minister for Higher Education) (12:26): I rise to update the chamber on how the reintroduction of trade papers by the Andrews government is rebuilding the status of apprenticeships. Last week I visited Ringwood Training with a member for Eastern Metropolitan Region, Sonja Terpstra, who is an absolute champion when it comes to vocational training. Ringwood Training won the Small Training Provider of the Year award at the Victorian Training Awards. They provide high-quality vocational training. While there I met Ricky. Ricky has completed his certificate III in light vehicle mechanical technology. He previously worked as a warehouse logistics officer but wanted to move into an area of passion. I had the pleasure of presenting Ricky with his trade paper. Thanks to this government, trade papers are back. They are back, and they are free. Since we began reissuing trade papers this year over 1100 have been issued.
Ricky was so proud to receive his trade paper, which is exactly what trade papers are about. We want our apprentices to be not just proud of their hard work but recognised for their skills. If we are serious about vocational education being valued as much as a university qualification, then we need to give it the status that it deserves. Vocational training should be seen as a first preference for students. Apprenticeships should be recognised as high-quality qualifications, and that is what trade papers do. And trade papers are a passport to a job right around the world. To all graduating apprentices, I encourage you to apply for your trade papers at the Victorian Registration and Qualifications Authority website. Well done to Ricky. I know that his trade paper will be on display for his friends, his family and his clients to see into the future.