first_imgSpeaking in Dandenong, in Melbourne’s south east, last week, Victorian Minister for Higher Education and Skills, Nick Wakeling, announced new measures implemented by the Napthine government aimed at rejuvenating economic and employment growth, by investing in training systems for the unemployed.“The Napthine government is investing a record $1.2 billion a year in vocational education and training, up almost 50 per cent from Labor’s last budget in 2010,” Mr Wakeling said.Two new training centres launched by the government – the South Eastern Workforce Development Centre in Dandenong and the North Western Workforce Development Centre in Broadmeadows – seek to boost re-employment opportunities, with services aimed at assisting workers re-enter the workforce. “The two centres were funded through a $30 million package to support workers in the automotive and supply chain sector, outlined in the 2014-15 Victorian State Budget.”Mr Wakeling said the South Eastern centre would help the region’s local market, which houses a majority of the state’s automotive supply chain.“About 60 per cent of Victoria’s automotive supply chain companies are located in Melbourne’s south-eastern suburbs, and this centre will offer significant support for workers to transition into new jobs within growing areas of the economy.”The measures will particularly target manufacturing employees from Ford, Holden and Toyota – whose local factories are set to close by the end of 2017, due to corporate restructuring.Services at the centres include career information, training and re-skilling support, and workshops and referrals to other support services, such as financial and employment skills counselling.In his address, Mr Wakeling did not shy away from criticising the previous Labor government. “We have worked hard to fix Labor’s bungled reforms of the training sector by ensuring that training funding is directed into areas of value to the economy.“In Victoria our industry participation has ensured 72 per cent of training is now in areas of skills shortage and employment growth – more than ever before,” Mr Wakeling said.According to the Department of State Development, Business and Innovation, approximately 287,900 Victorians are employed in manufacturing, which equates to around 10 per cent of the state’s workforce. On the back of those figures, the government is implementing a $58 million manufacturing project to boost the sector, which contributes $25.6 billion to the Victorian economy. Australian Manufacturing Workers Union (AMWU) national secretary Mike Nicolaides welcomed any measures that assist workers who have lost their jobs through no fault of their own, but warned the government has missed a “fundamental point”.“Wouldn’t it be better to have a policy which supports a viable manufacturing industry? For example, why wouldn’t we build the next generation of our railway rolling stock in Victoria? Why instead does the government seem intent to off-shore this work to Asia?” Mr Nicolaides said.“The Napthine government refers to ‘economic restructuring’ as if it’s a natural event, like leaves falling in autumn. In doing so, the government is seeking to absolve itself of responsibility.”He said that the state government should be more involved in shaping the industry, to assist with re-generating and providing jobs – but added that governance at both the state and federal levels were failing in that respect.The centres officially opened on September 19. Facebook Twitter: @NeosKosmos Instagramlast_img