July 22nd, 2016

The Queensland Government announced earlier this month that $810.7 million will be put toward skills and training, a sum that will push Vocational Education and Training into the spotlight and create new career opportunities, a celebrated move as National Skills Week approaches in August.

The Australian workforce is experiencing shortages in trained and skilled professions across many areas such as childcare, building and construction, hospitality, tourism, and healthcare, all of which offer rewarding career options that can lead to long-term employment opportunities and job security. This year’s Queensland based state launch of National Skills Week in Brisbane will challenge people to think about how much they really know about VET, the progression opportunities and the rapidly changing jobs market.

“It is time to recognise the importance of skilling and training people from all walks of life, who go on to make a positive impact across industries nationwide and provide economic prosperity to Australia,” says Kirstin Casey, General Manager at SkillsOne.

“National Skills Week aims to bring greater understanding to the benefits of Vocational Education to Queensland and across Australia, acknowledge areas experiencing skills shortages, and motivate more women to enter non-traditional trades.”

This comes at a time when women’s groups are forming nation-wide in an effort to encourage more women into careers that are traditionally male dominated. Queensland’s very own Women in Power association formed this month to encourage more women to enter careers in electrotechnology. Led by Tammy Stanton, the team of four industry professionals are on a mission to bring high-voltage change to the workplace gender gap.

“We think the need is in schools, to help support young females take the path (of a trade) … I want to see these kids going home going ‘I want to be an electrician, it’s an awesome career’,” Tammy said to The Quest earlier this month.

There are more women taking up apprenticeships and entering areas such as electrical, refrigeration, and air-conditioning, a change that National Skills Week aims to propel with the help of Australian Training Awards Alumni.

Brisbane based Australian Apprenticeships Ambassador and Australian Training Award’s 2014 Vocational Student of the Year Rachel Bacon says the skills she has learned as part of her VET and apprentice training in avionics has given her new confidence and taught her how to “put theory into practice.” She is now employed as a full-time aircraft maintenance engineer, and her internationally recognised qualifications will allow her to “work anywhere in the world.”

“After trying both university and vocational training, I found I much preferred the on-the-job learning that an apprenticeship provides,” Rachel said. “It is highly rewarding and satisfying to succeed in such a unique industry.”

Jessica Meek, Australian Training Award’s 2011 Queensland Apprentice of the Year and Australian Apprenticeships Ambassador secured an electrical scholarship in Cairns and never looked back. VET provided her with valuable career opportunities such as working on Australian Defence Force naval vessels and doing electrical work in the construction sector.

“I never thought in my wildest dreams I would be an electrician but my Australian Apprenticeship exposed me to a whole new world I did not know existed,” Jessica said. “Becoming an Australian Apprentice is something I really encourage women to think about – no matter what age you are – give it a go, you will like the diversity it brings to your life.”

Made possible by the abundant career pathways provided by VET, Jessica has since extended her skill set across a number of different sectors such as completing a diploma in project management and a certificate in occupational health and safety. VET not only allows for change in career pathways, but also provides young career seeking professionals an early head start.

Australian Training Award’s 2013 Queensland School-based Apprentice of the Year and Australian Apprenticeships Ambassador Ryan Grant took up an apprenticeship when he was only eighteen-years- old while still in high school, and now he lives in France working as a chef at Chalet Thovex. Ryan believes his apprenticeship provided him with the benefit of continual support while at school.

“My experience proves that an Australian School-based Apprenticeship puts you ahead of the pack,” he said.

Some of Queensland’s Australian Training Awards Alumni and Australian Apprenticeships Ambassadors will be participating in National Skills Week in August and September, providing insight into the benefits of VET and their unique career journeys.

For further information on Australian Training Awards Alumni and Australian Apprenticeships Ambassadors visit https://www.australiantrainingawards.gov.au and https://www.australianapprenticeships.gov.au/australian-apprenticeships-ambassadors-program

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