SIMON BIRMINGHAM: Thank you very much, Sarah, Prime Minister, ladies and gentlemen. It’s great to be in the city of Geelong today to complement and supplement the views that my colleague and the department have just announced. The Prime Minister, Sarah and I have just come here from the Newcomb Secondary School which will be one of two first P-Tech pilot schools in Australia.
This is important because it is about providing job relevant students to students and as a government we have one simple formula for vocational education and training that is that education and training should equal relevant skills that help young people to get jobs that will exist in the future. The P-Tech model which the Prime Minister has brought back from a visit he made to the United States personally has championed, Sarah has championed out here in Geelong as the first pilot in Australia, is a model that gives real skills related to the jobs of the future and we know that because it is a model that involves employers coming in to the school environment supplementing and complementing the existing curriculum to give the students the opportunity to know what skills they need in the workplace to not just achieve their high school certificate, their VCE, but actually go on and achieve a vocational qualification in a STEM pathway, a science, technology, engineering or mathematics pathway.
We know that over the last five years there has been 15% growth in STEM jobs compared to just 9% across the rest of the economy. Integral to that, of course, is advanced manufacturing. The jobs in advanced manufacturing that will come from the type of investment in the growth sector and this is really about setting up a lifelong opportunity for Geelong for school based learning integrated through vocational and university pathways in, of course, leadership in the development of advanced manufacturing opportunities here in Geelong.
I want to pay particular tribute to the community of Geelong who have worked with us in developing the P-Tech model at Newcomb whose members such as Sky Software and Barwon Health will be providing workplace opportunities for the students at Newcomb and providing real skills that will help those students have a head start in getting a job in the future. I also want to acknowledge the real support we have had from IBM who have championed the P-Tech model in the United States and are providing us with financial and practical assistance to roll it out here in Australia and make sure the model is a success, all be it for our circumstances and the conditions of our students [INDISTINCT] as a model that is building on success in the US and that has been proven to give students skills that helps them lift their educational attainment and ultimately secure jobs in the future. This is a great opportunity for Geelong and I look forward to being back here many, many times of the coming months and years to see the P-Tech model’s success here so that we can roll it out across the rest of the country.