MS TIERNEY (Western Victoria—Minister for Training and Skills, Minister for Higher Education) (12:07): Bevan Hirst is a fourth-year medical student at Deakin University in Geelong. He recently signed up to our frontline workforce to help get more jabs in Victorian arms. Nearly 600 Victorian university students just like Bevan have signed up since we announced a student vaccination program with Torrens Health earlier this year. I recently visited the Barwon Health vax hub located at the iconic former Ford factory in Geelong and had the privilege of meeting Bevan and seeing him in action. He is getting valuable real-life work experience while also helping save lives and return our community to COVID normal. But more than that, the program is a unique chance for students to earn while they learn. In some cases it is also helping them finish their degree sooner.
The student vaccination program is a great example of how the Andrews Labor government is helping to connect the dots between skills and the training sector, industry and communities. It is just one of the ways universities have contributed throughout the pandemic. They have been at the heart of our efforts, including Victoria University hosting a pop-up clinic where 2000 people were vaccinated in two days. Federation University had a pop-up testing site where 12 of its students worked. Research and development of vaccinations and community resourcing are happening at universities like Monash and Melbourne—and of course training the next generation of Victorian health workers. Bevan told me there is a common desire amongst other university students to help their communities. I look forward to seeing how he and other university students in this program make their mark in the future.