Skilling Gwydir students for success

October 23, 2014

Students in the Gwydir region will have the opportunity to learn useful vocational skills in the newly opened Gwydir Learning Region Trade Training Centre.

The Gwydir Learning Region Trade Training Centre, with sites located at Warialda High School, Bingara Central School and at the Gwydir Shire Council, will allow secondary school students to earn qualifications in agriculture, automotive, horticulture and hospitality.

The centre, which was built with a $2,999,193 contribution from the Australian Government, was officially opened last Wednesday by Mr Mark Coulton, Member for Parkes, on behalf of Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Education, Senator the Hon Scott Ryan.

The centre incorporates an automotive workshop, two agriculture theory rooms, three hospitality facilities with commercial kitchens, offices, staff rooms, store room and amenities.

“The Australian Government is committed to ensuring vocational training meets the needs of industry and employers and to ensuring students are trained in areas where there are existing skills shortages.”

Gwydir Learning Region
Bingara SRC member, Shannon McGarrity, Bingara Central School Principal, Mark Vale, Member for Parkes, Mark Coulton, Bingara SRC members Ned Abra and Luke Carr, Warialda High School SRC members Beatrice Waller, Gwydir Mayor John Coulton, Warialda High School Deputy Geoff Boland and Principal Gary Hampton, and Sarah Weatherell.

Mr Coulton toured all three facilities and welcomed the Australian Government’s commitment to training young people in the Gwydir region.

“The new facilities at Gwydir Learning Region Trade Training Centre will give students the best chance to learn workplace skills,” successMr Coulton said.

“Skills training at secondary school provides a basis for students to pursue further training after school or to enter the workplace.  For many students, learning a trade will be the key to a job in a wide range of industries, from tourism to construction.

“I congratulate the entire school community and Gwydir Shire Council on the world class and cost effective facilities that they have established in Warialda and Bingara.”

Speaking at the opening of the Primary Industries Trade training centre, known locally as the Living Classroom, Gwydir Shire Mayor said that the project had been “quite a contract”.

He also paid tribute to General Manager, Max Eastcott.

“Education in our shire has been Max’s ‘baby’, and without him pushing this, we would not have got this far, he was there right at the very start,” Cr. Coulton said.

“Max’s sentiment is correct, our children are our most precious export from the shire, and if we want them to stay, we are going to have to educate and offer them some opportunity in our shire area.”

Cr. Coulton compared the building of the Trade Training Centre, which includes three venues in the Shire, with a school canteen which was built at Toomalah.

“(Member for Parkes) Mark (Coulton) says, if you put a car in there you wouldn’t be able to open the door, and it cost $600,000. Compared with that, these three projects have really maximised the dollar.

Cr. Coulton named several staff who contributed to the project, and praised them in the face of budgetary challenges.

“For example, when they started work on the trade training kitchen, they found a very large water tank under the floor they didn’t know was there, and they had the expense of building over it.

“I don’t want to put a dampener on it, but if anything does happen to this Council local government area, and we do lose it, we are still going to have all these facilities. That’s the beauty of it all."

Bingara Central School Principal, Mark Vale, has been involved with the project for six years.

“This will benefit students at Warialda high school, and Bingara Central school and residents within and beyond the Gwydir Council area.

“Six years ago there was nothing apart from the common, and a community idea realised by the Bingara Vision 2020 group in consultation with the Gwydir Shire Council.

“Council, through the Gwydir Learning Region, saw the opportunity provided by the government funding of trade training centres with schools and we have this result here now.

“This trade training centre concept is unique in New South Wales. This centre has three off school sites, there were also upgrades of kitchens in both schools, so really there are five separate sites that belong to the trade training centre as such,” Mr. Vale said.