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National Skills Week shows Bundaberg’s training talent

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Tom Smith MP at Bundaberg TAFE

More than 800 Bundaberg Region apprentices and trainees started vocational training within the last financial year following a record $1 billion investment in training and skills.

The State Government investment is paying off, with people in Bundaberg getting the qualifications they need for the jobs of the future.

Minister for Training and Skills Development Di Farmer said ‘RE-THINK’, the theme of this year’s National Skills Week, encouraged Queenslanders to take a good look at the many and varied careers available through vocational training.

“Wherever you are in Queensland, you deserve the opportunity to get world class training to help you get the right job,” Minister Farmer said.

Member for Bundaberg, Tom Smith, said the government was supporting young people in Bundaberg with free training.

“We have free apprenticeships and free TAFE for under 25s across 165 priority skills areas including construction, health, and disability support services,” Mr Smith said.

“And the figures show that it’s paying off: 45,700 apprentices and trainees started in the last financial year, which is a huge 56.6% rise on the year before.

“That includes over 800 right here in Bundaberg.

“Queensland is also the national leader in school-based apprenticeships and traineeships with 57% of the national total.

“That’s why we have invested over $220 million into renewing and revitalising TAFEs across Queensland since 2017.

“And from this year, we are investing another $100 million.

“In Bundaberg investment includes $6 million across an Agriculture and Horticulture Centre, a Maker Space, and trade modernisation projects.

“This will ensure our apprentices and trainees have world class facilities to train in and get the skills they need to change their lives.”

19-year-old Macson Cottle left school to study engineering at university, but soon realised he wanted to do something more practical and hands-on that he enjoyed.

With two project cars of his own at home that he works on in his spare time, Macson made the decision to drop out of university and began working at Super Cheap Auto to support himself while he followed his interest in cars and looked for an automotive apprenticeship.

“At first I was unsuccessful in securing an apprenticeship, so I decided to take matters into my own hands by enrolling in a Certificate II in Automotive Vocational Preparation at TAFE Queensland,” Macson said.

“I hope it will give me a leg-up with obtaining an apprenticeship by proving I have a good understanding of the industry.”

Macson has been able to study his course for free under JobTrainer funding and said this had been a huge help in speeding up his career.

“Without the funding I would have had to borrow money from my parents or saved up to do this course, so it’s helped me to be able to do it straight away without any stress,” Macson said.

“Because it’s been free, I’ve been able to put my money elsewhere, like towards keeping my cars on the road.”

As National Skills Week begins, so too does Macson’s career as he has begins the fourth week of his automotive apprenticeship at Tread Marx Tyre and Mechanical in Bundaberg.

Minister Farmer said vocational education and training was vital to Queensland’s economy.

“We know that if you get the right training, you’re more likely to get the right job,” Minister Farmer said.

“I’d encourage every single person reading this to go and look up all the rewarding, lucrative and prestigious career opportunities available through vocational education and training.”

National Skills Week, which runs from August 23 to August 29, is an opportunity to raise awareness of the power of vocational education and training and the wide range of qualifications that lead to rewarding careers now and into the near future.

For more information about National Skills Week visit nationalskillsweek.com.au, or to learn more about subsidised training opportunities available to eligible Queenslanders visit desbt.qld.gov.au.

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