Minister for Higher Education and Skills Peter Hall has commended some of Victoria’s most accomplished apprentices, presenting four major awards at the 2013 Master Builders State Apprentice of the Year ceremony.
More than half of Victoria’s 45,000 apprentices are eligible for the awards, which recognise the achievements of apprentices in the building and construction industry.
The State Apprentice of the Year award was presented to Matthew Miller from Tocumwal, an apprentice carpenter who is studying through Goulburn Ovens Institute of TAFE and is employed by F.A.D. Steel.
Mr Hall also presented the Female Apprentice of the Year award to Christine East from Mooroopna, the Metropolitan Apprentice of the Year award to Blake Jobson from Wyndham Vale and the Regional Apprentice of the Year award to joint winners Matthew Miller and Ryan Wheeler from Maffra.
"I am impressed by the proficiency and level of commitment that our Victorian apprentices display and want to congratulate tonight’s award winners," Mr Hall said.
"The Victorian Coalition Government is continuing to shape the training system to ensure there are sufficient skilled workers to meet demand, and nowhere is this more important than in the building and construction industry."
Mr Hall said the Coalition Government was investing a record $6.1 billion in infrastructure projects over the coming four years, an investment that would have a direct impact on the building and construction industry – and on Victorian apprentices.
"Continued investment in skills is vital because the building and construction industry needs a highly skilled workforce that can deliver on these major projects, and at the same time boost productivity," Mr Hall said.
Mr Hall said that, under the Coalition Government’s Refocusing Vocational Training in Victoria strategy, subsidies for apprenticeship courses had risen by about 20 per cent overall, with the average subsidy per apprentice rising to $3,280 per year.
"Over the next four years, the Coalition Government will invest more than $4.8 billion in training subsidies alone, including new investment of just over $1 billion," Mr Hall said. Mr Hall congratulated the Master Builders Association of Victoria for its strong commitment to improving the skills of its members, including apprentices.
The building and construction industry is the second largest provider of full-time employment in the state, employing more than 250,000 Victorians.