Game-changer for training and jobs

11 May 2016 Wangaratta Chronicle, Wangaratta VIC (General News) by Simone Kerwin A NEW one-stop shop for job seekers has been embraced by the Wangaratta community in its first week of operation. The Skills and Jobs Centre, located at the Docker Street entrance of Goulburn Ovens TAFEs Wangaratta campus, opened its doors last week offering guidance for job seekers looking to start training, workers needing to reskill and unemployed workers seeking to retrain. And during an official opening by Jaclyn Symes (MLC, Northern Victoria) on Monday, there was plenty of praise for the initiative from schools, local training services, and job seekers themselves. Ms Symes said the centres opening was the end to a circle which began in Shepparton in late October, when she announced $1 million in State Government funding for the project to offer tailored support to job seekers. This is going to be a gamechanger for training and employment development in Wangaratta, she said. Job seeking can be challenging; you can sit reading the job ads in the paper, but if you come here you can walk in and talk to expert staff who will give you the help you need. GOTAFE is critical to the success of this Skills and Jobs Centre, and I thank them for the contribution they will make in overseeing the delivery of serAs public educational providers, TAFEs play a unique role by providing high quality training that can be aligned with local industry needs. Like many country regions, Wangaratta has specific training needs, and the Skills and Jobs Centre can respond to these requirements and build on the good work already done in the community by GOTAFE. Jodee Price, GOTAFE manager skills and employment, said the centre offered an avenue for community engagement, which she said had suffered through funding cuts to TAFEs in recent years. She said the centre would help cater for the communitys needs, with strong local interest in careers as disability carers, traditional trades, and innovation and entrepreneurial sectors. A lot of people dont know what industries are progressing in their region, so this will help make them aware, Ms Price said. Its also about helping people knock down a few doors and make introductions. GOTAFE chief executive officer Paul Culpan said the concept of the centre owed much to State Minister for Training and Skills Steve Herbert. He said we needed a hub so people could navigate the system, Mr Culpan said. It has always been an issue that no one knew who was taking the lead role. Mr Culpan said funding for the centre had been linked with youth unemployment funding to ensure it would provide the best possible resources. This is not just a pop-up shop, he said. Caption Text: EXCITING CONCEPT: Jaclyn Symes (MLC, Northern Victoria) officially opened Wangarattas new Skills and Jobs Centre on Monday, watched by Goulburn Ovens TAFE chief executive officer Paul Culpan. PHOTO: Shane Douthie