Councils unite to win Australian Technical College

Over the past few years, one of the biggest issues facing communities in Perth’s southeast region has been youth unemployment. This year, the Cities of Gosnells and Armadale plan to change that with the first intake of students to the Australian Technical College – Perth South.

This multimillion dollar partnership between the two Cou ncils, the Australian Government, Armadale Redevelopment Authority and Stirling Skills Training Inc (SST) features two education centres. These include an automotive training and engineering campus and a building, construction and electro technology campus.

City of Gosnells Mayor, Patricia Morris, said that both Councils and their communities recognised the long term social and economic benefits of improved training and education opportunities.

“Traditionally, trade careers have been stereotyped as a second best option to tertiary studies,” she said. “But few young people from our region were going on to Years 11 and 12,
let alone university. With the current high demand for skilled labour, the timing could not be better.

“Our State needs job ready apprentices and that is exactly what the Australian Technical College curriculum is offering.

“These centres, each offering 150 places, will give our young people a chance to learn a trade, broaden their career prospects, work with local industries and most importantly, enjoy opportunities that were not previously available to them.”

The Australian Technical College program is an Australian Government initiative to address the demand for skilled workers in the automotive, engineering, construction, electro technology and commercial cookery trades. The initiative includes a network of Year 11 and 12 colleges aimed specifically at young people who want to do an apprenticeship in one of the identified trades.

Initially, both Councils expressed interest in the program independently, but soon realised that joining forces would give them a better chance of success.

The College will not only give students an edge, but will also make the region a more attractive location for business because of the skills being developed in the local workforce.

Industry acceptance of the College has been very high. Various national and local companies have agreed to support the College and assist students financially and through apprenticeship placements.

Even in the first semester, demand for students from industry is very strong.

The project has secured an estimated Australian Government investment in the region of $19 million (both capital and operating) between 2006 and 2010.

As the College grows over the first two or three years, the number of trades offered will expand to provide a wider range of options to young people in their last two years of schooling.