Standing up for Canberra

Vocational Education and Training

Today I had the great pleasure of joining the Leader of the Opposition at the ACTION Tuggeranong bus depot to discuss Labor's plans for apprentices and building the trade skills of the future. It was the second time that the opposition leader and I had been to the depot. The first was in 2015 with my dear friend and colleague the former shadow minister for vocational education, the member for Cunningham. Back then we discussed how Labor's trade training centres were providing a pathway to apprenticeships.

One of the highlights of today was meeting 16-year-old Renee. Renee completed year 10 at St Mary MacKillop College last year and chose to do her work experience at the bus depot. She loved it so much she decided to become a heavy vehicle mechanic apprentice. Renee is one of 11 apprentices and three ASBAs at the bus depot, but she is the only female. She follows in the footsteps of another female bus depot apprentice who is now working in Darwin, which just goes to show you the options and choice offered by a trade.

As the daughter of an electrician and as the former union president of the oldest worker's college in the world, the RMIT, I do not see a trade as something you do if you cannot get into university, and Labor also shares that view. At the National Press Club recently, the opposition leader underscored Labor's commitment to trades and vocational education. Labor has a plan for apprenticeships, skills and vocational education, unlike the Turnbull government, which has cut 130,000 apprenticeships and sees trade and vocational education as second class.

Download a copy of this speech.