Minister confirms private RTOs are key

On 2 August, Apprenticeship Support Australia attended an ACPET Lunch showcasing keynote speaker, Minister for Education and Training, the Hon. Sue Ellery.

Showcasing her people skills, the Minister took to the floor introducing herself to all attendees through a quick handshake and personalised greeting. There was even time for a much loved ‘Minister Selfie’ with some ACPET members representing the International Education sector.

When it was time to get to the main event, the Minister stayed focussed, talking about the Labor Government’s WA Jobs Bill and their key priority platforms (i.e. Metronet and local content) as expected.

There were a few interesting points she made though in regards to the Labor government’s regional migration changes, indicating that the intent is to ensure WA people get the first bite at the apple, but they are aware that sometimes policy changes have unintended outcomes. In this case, the Minister referred to the impacts it may have on the attractiveness of WA international education sector to students wanting to come and study and perhaps start their careers.

In her jovial form, Ellery made light of the former government’s decision to have two separate ministers’ overseeing Education and Training portfolios, assuring the crowd that the Ministers now talk regularly, of course inside her head, not out loud.

In regards to apprenticeships and traineeships, the Minister played to her crowd and confirmed that private RTOs were key to helping the State skill local people for jobs of the future. Ellery outlined that in these challenging economic times, we are all tasked with encouraging as many employers to train, so WA is not faced with a future skill shortage.

When taking questions from the floor, there were a couple of curly ones. One attendee bought up some examples of difficult situations they had experienced with the Apprenticeship Office. However, the Minister was clear that she didn’t want to burden the system with unnecessary red tape- but she did want to make sure consumers had confidence in the training system. It’s all about balance.

Finally, Ellery was quizzed on the state of play of the Skilling Australians Fund and what initiatives WA was likely to propose to access the Fund. Her response indicated that there were plans in-train, however, it’s too early to talk publicly yet. So watch this space!

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