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Literacy, numeracy, schools: all in UF's checklist

Thursday, 19 May 2005

Ogilvy: Literacy, numeracy, more for schools - all in UF’s education checklist

United Future was delighted with the $13 million total for workplace literacy and numeracy programmes and the expanded modern apprenticeships programme, the party’s education spokesman, Bernie Ogilvy, said in the wake of today’s Budget.

“These are hits on both counts for United Future, and the latter will see 9000 modern apprentices by the end of next year - which is getting very close to the 10,000 mark we had called on the Government to achieve,” Mr Ogilvy said.

“That’s very good, but we need to continue to increase vocational training opportunities, to support business skill needs and productivity, as well as helping to overcome shortages that create additional expense for consumers (e.g. shortage of builders and tradespeople).

“It’s also cheaper for the Government than funding other forms of tertiary education. We would like to see money for courses that are currently considered ‘low quality’ to be redirected into modern apprenticeships and other forms of industry training,” Mr Ogilvy said.

The literacy and numeracy workplace funding of $7 million will not only benefit employees, but will positively impact on employers, he said: “It’s a win-win situation and one United Future pushed very strongly for.”

Mr Ogilvy said United Future was also very pleased with the substantial lift in the level of funding allocated for school operations grants.

“Additional funding of $22 million per school year from 1 January 2006 increases schools' operational funding by 2.4 per cent, for a four-year total of $77.78 million - again, this is something we’ve lobbied extremely hard for over a significant period and its good to see it delivered for our kids.”

At a tertiary level, United Future was pleased to see Government picking up its concept of bonding for graduates with new bonded merit scholarships to pay the fees of up to 500 top students.

“We welcome the move to introduce bonding as a means to ending the brain-drain, but would like to see it applied in fields facings skills shortages, such as health,” he said.

United Future had already achieved the voluntary tertiary education savings scheme that it has mooted for several years, and which the Government picked up on earlier this month to become a reality.

Ends.

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