Border barrier to jobs for kids

THE member for Farrer Sussan Ley has attended her first meeting of the Albury- Wodonga Apprentice Supervisor Network in her role as assistant education minister.

The federal MP met some of the twin cities’ biggest companies with cross-border issues relating to the employment of apprentices high on the agenda.

Ms Ley was joined at the meeting at The Valleys restaurant at Wodonga TAFE on Thursday by a senior education department adviser, Rachel Howard.

Australian Industry Group regional manager Tim Farrah said employing apprentices on the Border was increasingly challenging.

“It is a complex web because states have different rules,” he said.

“High schools are also able to do some training up to certificate 2 level.

“You’ve got so many players across state borders, across industries and across education.

“As a result, it has become a lot more complicated than it needs to be.”

Two companies at the meeting both employ 100 apprentices.

Mr Farrah said the issue would become more challenging when funding changed in NSW next year.

“The border has implications whether you live in Victoria and work in NSW and vice-a-versa,” he said.

“Then throw in which TAFE is doing the training for that particular skill.”

Ms Ley said the meeting was important to hear about the challenges first hand.

“I was really pleased as both a local MP and the relevant minister to see such a diverse group of employers committed to offering local kids apprenticeships because, frankly, we need more kids in trades,” she said.

“It’s very frustrating to hear it’s being made all too hard by unnecessary cross-border red tape. I’m committed to addressing this.

“We heard about the difficulties of trying to train a Victorian student under the NSW system.

“Even though they’re from just across the border, it sounds like a nightmare.

“I also want to see better quality training and career advice in our schools so our kids don’t feel like they’re playing on the B-team for picking a trade as a career.”

Businesses represented at the meeting included Wilson Transformers, Milspec, Watters, Macfab, Rivalea, Overall Forge, Border Express, Joss Group, Butko Engineering, Border Express, DTD Engineering and Albury Precision Engineering.

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