Is the Australian Technical College in Gungahlin a duplication of what already exists in the ACT? On Wednesday 14th November Gary Humphries unveiled his proposal to build a technical college on a vacant site in Gungahlin. He says that the ACT is in need of more institutions like these due to the skill shortage in Canberra and the surrounding region. In addition to this technical college another one will open up in Queanbeyan next year taking the total to 29 colleges around the country by the end of 2008. The number of Technical colleges will expand to 100 by 2017 with the Prime Minister’s recent election promise. These institutions are in anticipation of a growing demand for skilled workers.
Technical Colleges follow a Liberal election announcement in 2004 to allow Year 11 and 12 students to complete their Year 12 Certificate by combining study with structured training in a trade of the student’s choice. This scheme allows students to enter a School Based Apprenticeship while studying their Year 12 Certificate. These school-based apprentices usually finish Year 12 with a Certificate 111 in their chosen trade by the end of their study.
In comparison the Opposition Leader Kevin Rudd’s announcement as part of his ‘education revolution’ policy to put a technical centre in every Secondary School across the country. He claims this will provide better options for all students.
Are either of these policies going to fix the skills shortage or be a worthwhile option for young people and guarantee Australia’s economic future. I don’t think so. They are too expensive, and the money should be given to existing programs already offered by the ACT Government.
The ACT in particular has a unique school based apprenticeship system that partners with a range of education institutions including the Canberra Institute of Technology (CIT) and the Masters Builders Association (MBA). The Gungahlin Technical College is not needed?
It’s seems hard to believe that the federal government would waste taxpayers money to duplicate a system that works in the ACT. The ACT is the envy of the rest of Australia when it comes to apprenticeships.
So it seems logical the federal and ACT governments should work together and put our money where it will do the most good.