WANGARATTA’S Youth North East Training Centre is one of the best in the country, according to leading Liberal Senator Scott Ryan.
The $2.16 million automotive training centre has been operating at GOTAFE for two years but yesterday it was formally opened by the senator.
“It’s a large project and it’s important it gets recognition,” Senator Ryan said. He is parliamentary secretary to the Education Minister Christopher Pyne.
The training centre caters to about 40 students from 10 North East high schools as well as those in apprenticeships.
Wangaratta High School principal Heather Sarau said the training centre gave students a choice.
“In the North East, more students choose not to go to a tertiary level of study and they want to gain hands-on experience,” she said.
“Students love it and they don’t need a push or any coercing to get them to attend the classes at the centre because it’s high-class training and they are able to pick up employment after school.”
Senator Ryan said the country had suffered from the closure of technical schools and vocational education was the most important thing.
“We need to ensure regional students have the same opportunities as those in metropolitan areas,” he said.
He was fascinated by the use of new technologies those learning the trade experienced.
He made reference to a simulator which helped students practise painting car panels on a computer.
GOTAFE chief executive Paul Culpan said the technology provided students with immediate feedback on how successful they were.
Mr Culpan said automotive businesses were looking to become more competitive and they could access highly trained graduates who would enhance business.
He said the training centre integrated school students and those who had already left.
“School students can see the higher level training and it creates motivation and aspirations,” he said.
Rutherglen High School, Yarrawonga P12 College, Mansfield Secondary College, Benalla P12 College, Bright P12 college, Numurkah Secondary College, Wangaratta District Specialist School, Myrtleford P12 College and Marian College Myrtleford are involved in the centre alongside Wangaratta High School.
Yesterday the senator also unveiled a $2.4 million science centre at Wangaratta’s Cathedral College.
It includes a food technology room, environmental, physics and chemistry labs, a canteen, a multi-purpose room, a garden, a courtyard and five separate staff areas.