LOCAL students will benefit from a new trades and skills centre to be built at Catholic College Sale, with an expected completion date of June next year.
It is anticipated other schools in the Wellington region will be invited to use the building for skills training, providing opportunities for hundreds of students.
The school will also look to form partnerships with local businesses that might benefit from the skills training provided.
The turning of the sod for the Australian government’s $990,000 Trades Skills Centre project took place at the school on Friday.
The centre will include a new training facility to deliver qualifications in automotive engineering and hospitality to address skills shortages in the trades of cooking, metal fabrication and motor mechanics.
Catholic College Sale principal Chris Randell said the school prided itself on its apprenticeship pathway programs, which offered a range of career options for senior students.
“We have already seen many young adults who started their education with Catholic College Sale go on to have very successful careers in the trades sector,” he said.
“We are very lucky in this area that businesses are very supportive of our students, which is not always the case in other areas.
“Many young apprentices choose to stay in Gippsland when they complete VCE or VCAL, which means these new classrooms and workshops will not only give our students skills that benefit them, but the entire community.
“Whether our students choose to go on to university or pursue a trade, we believe in giving them the best possible support to fulfil their career aspirations.
“This will allow us to bring our off-campus classes closer to campus.”
Mr Randell said the trades centre, which would extend from the school’s current woodwork and metalwork facility, would consist of three separate buildings, including a stand-alone hospitality facility.
“Woodwork and metalwork areas will be switched, to allow metalwork to be closer to engineering and automotive areas,” he said.
“The car park may have to come back towards the (Bishop Phelan) stadium.”
Vocational education and training building and construction student Lily Hargreaves said she was looking forward to working in the new facility.
“We will have a lot more equipment and a lot more variety,” she said.
“There will be more room, so we will be able to get more students in there.”
O’Neills Restaurant owner Karen Kiefer welcomed the new centre.
“Staffing in the hospitality industry is one of our biggest issues, so we would welcome an initiative that helps to give local students the required skills,” she said.
Gippsland MHR Darren Chester said skills to be taught at the centre would give young people the knowledge they needed to gain employment upon completing school.
“The students who pass through these classrooms will be our future hospitality workers, motor mechanics and metal fabricators,” he said.
“This new training facility at Catholic College Sale will help give our students the skills they need before embarking on a trade, so they can hit the ground running when they start their apprenticeships.”