LABOR’S plan to educate the Bundaberg region's high school students in trade training centres will not automatically mean a decrease in unemployment figures.
Candidates for the seat of Hinkler hit out at the idea after a visit to Bundaberg State High School by Minister for Education, Employment and Workplace Relations Simon Crean and Labor candidate for Hinkler Belinda McNeven yesterday.
Mr Crean and Ms McNeven spoke to the school about the $11.6 million centre, which provides students with courses in engineering, manufacturing, hospitality and rural operations.
In Bundaberg, high schools and the Wide Bay Institute of TAFE have pooled their grants and will share any facilities built.
“Not all students want to enter into university education and this means if they choose, at school they can get qualifications to enter the workforce after school,” Mr Crean said.
“We are firmly committed to the notion that unemployment is not an option. We see the import of investing in schools with trades and things like projects for maths and sciences.”
Ms McNeven said projects like the Job Funds and Keep Australia Working, and building more affordable housing in the region, would help the unemployment rate.
Member for Hinkler Paul Neville said he was surprised Labor would be boasting about the training centre scheme as he felt it was a failure with only 13 of the 2260 centres completed.
Mr Neville said the Coalition's technical colleges were more successful.
“We also need to have seed funds for medium to large businesses in small towns to provide that training,” he said.
Independent candidate Adrian Wone said he was happy with the plan but did not think it would help unemployment.
“It's great to have the training but we need to provide jobs for the people who are trained,” he said.
Independent candidate Cy d'Oliveira said students needed to be trained for industries which were lacking in skills, such as mining.
Family First candidate Trevor Versace was in favour of the plan.
“Anything which is going to help young people understand what life is like in the real world is a good thing,” he said.