WORK on a long-awaited trade training centre at Western Port Secondary College is set to begin within three months after the federal government signed off on $1.1 million for the project.
Flinders MP Greg Hunt visited the school in Hastings to announce final funding approval for the Trades Skills Centre.
The centre is expected to be completed before the end of the year, with classes to begin at the start of the 2015 school year.
Training will focus on engineering and automotive trade skills, with an emphasis on marine and construction industries, which have been identified as areas of critical skills shortages among Western Port and other peninsula employers.
The project, which received in-principle support from both Labor and the Coalition in the lead-up to last year’s federal election, will see an existing automotive centre at the college extended to include an engineering workshop and theory room as well as refurbishment of an existing automotive facility to include an automotive workshop.
Mr Hunt said funding arrangements for the training centre aimed to maximise “industry engagement and collaboration” to assist in “up-skilling young people in the trades sector so they are able to take up local employment opportunities”.
“There is a keen interest among many young people to take up employment in trade industries and this will provide them with the necessary skills to fulfil their passions,” he said.
“The centre will deliver qualifications in automotive and engineering to address skills shortages in the trades of fitter (general), fitter-welder, metal fabricator, motor mechanics (general), motorcycle mechanic and welder (first class).
“It is brilliant to see these young people thriving in a hands-on environment and learning trades that may become their future careers.”
Western Port Secondary College’s acting principal Michael Devine said the facility aimed to provide students with skills sought by peninsula industries.
“There are some real skill shortages across the Mornington Peninsula and this centre will help provide formal qualifications in those areas,” he said.
“The opportunities presented by the Trades Skills Centre allow students to remain engaged in education and complete a senior secondary program.
“The school has been working hard to expand educational programs and enhance opportunities for young people in Hastings and the surrounding area, and this facility will do that.”
He said with funding now finally approved, the school would look to begin the tendering process within weeks.