Govt lifeline to student trainees

COFFS Coast youth will still benefit from a school-based trainee scheme, now that the Department of Education and Training has found supplementary funding for the highly successful program.

The School Based Apprenticeship and Trainee Scheme, which combines paid work with school and provides industry-recognised qualifications for young people, was slated for downsizing on the North Coast after Term 1 due to a funding shortfall. The move was seen by member of Coffs Harbour, Andrew Fraser, as a 'retrograde step' that would disadvantage young people's future employment prospects.

But a spokesperson for the Department of Education and Training (DET) has thrown Coffs Coast teenagers a lifeline, saying the funding of staff that runs the service will continue.

“Following consultation with North Coast regional secondary principals, the region has decided to continue to supplement funding for the three co-ordination officer positions for the 2009 school year,” the DET spokesperson said. “The officers will continue to undertake their core business in terms of liaising with employers and training providers establishing school based apprenticeship and traineeships.”

The spokesperson said officers will work 28 hours a week, allowing access throughout normal school working hours, while some additional tasks previously done by the co-ordination officers for other agencies will in future be done by staff.



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