Geelong Advertiser | Geelong VIC | 07 Aug 2015, by Greg Dundas |
LEADING Geelong employers are lining up to take part in Newcomb Secondary College’s Australia-first P-TECH program.
Prime Minister Tony Abbott visited the school yesterday to confirm it would be the trial site for the US-style Pathways in Technology program, seeking to train students with practical science, technology, engineering and mathematics skills.
Mr Abbott said he was keen to pilot the program after seeing it in action in New York last year, and seeing businesses team with educators to train students for the jobs of the future.
Geelong-based Sky Software and Barwon Health were named as employers that would provide on-the-job training to students in years 9-12.
Insurer GMHBA, Bendigo Bank and The Gordon were also said to be in discussions about becoming involved.
Mr Abbott also confirmed the $14 million advanced manufacturing hub would be based at Deakin University’s Waurn Ponds campus.
Later, in an exclusive interview with the Geelong Advertiser, Mr Abbott said such announcements were aimed at providing support for growth and job creation in Geelong without providing handouts to the city.
“I think government has a role, an important role, but in the end, the salvation of this area is not going to arrive from Canberra on a great big gravy train,” he said.
“The salvation of this area is going to come from the ingenuity, the creativity, the hard work of the local people.
“I’m very confident there is an abundance of creativity here. Every time I come here there is more good that I become aware of.”
He said the plan to bring the P-TECH model to Australia originated when he visited a school in Brooklyn, New York, last year.
“(It was a) very tough part of town, but because of the integration of business into the education system, kids who might’ve ended up without much of a future were going in to get jobs with some of the world’s greatest companies,” Mr Abbott said.
“We’ve now brought this concept to Geelong . . . it’s all about preparing people for a future. It’s all about creating growth and jobs because that is at the heart of this government’s mission.”
Assistant Education Minister Simon Birmingham said P-TECH would be trialled at Newcomb SC and Ballarat’s Federation University before a possible national rollout.