Sunday Territorian 4 Apr 2010
Sunday Territorian; NewspaperNT
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Community newspapers -- Northern Territory -- Darwin.; Australian newspapers -- Northern Territory -- Darwin.
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16 Sunday Territorian, Sunday, April 4, 2010 www.sundayterritorian.com.au P U B : N T N E W S D A T E : 4 -A P R -2 0 1 0 P A G E : 1 6 C O L O R : C M Y K As American VPJoe Biden said: This is a big f...ing deal! Larrakia leads by example DEAL: Koolpinyah Barnes and INPEX president Naoki Kuroda sign an official agreement to construct the trade training centre in Darwin last week. Picture: NICK WELSH DISCLAIMER: The writer works for the Larrakia Development Corporation T RADE training is one of those things that we all agree is a good thing, but no big deal unless you need it to get a job. So in cities like Darwin and Alice Springs, dominated by Territory and federal public services, it is not a barbecue-stopper. Unless, of course, your family includes teenagers and young adults who have screwed up at school, and are subsequently condemned to spend their lives dog-paddling in the shallow end of the employment pool. And trade training, or lack of same, is a hot-button issue with business, big and small, as it tries to run everything from the corner store to multibillion-dollar mines, transport services and LNG plants in a Territory where clerks are plentiful, but crane drivers, less so. Which is why Darwins Larrakia Development Corporation decided to break the nexus between those thousands of Territorians untutored in the ways of the workplace, and a labor and skillshungry jobs market. Just two years ago, the Board of Australias most successful indigenousowned business enterprise resolved to build an oldfashioned trade school, but one where enrolment and tuition times were not governed by the old rules. The $4.5 million soccer field-sized Larrakia Trade Training Centre is under construction at East Arm, and the Larrakia Development Corporation and its business associates are determined to make a big deal of trade training and the event itself. There was saturation media coverage of the official launch, held at the Medina Vibe Hotel in which the Larrakia Development Corporation took a 50 per cent investment, late last year. There is a website, of course, and a special Larrakia Trade Training Centre newspaper will appear in 38,000 letter boxes across Darwin and Palmerston next weekend. The newspaper has plenty to cover. It explains that the trade training centre is a cooperative venture between the LDC, Kormilda College and Advanced Training International, a Winnelliebased registered training organisation. Kormilda, with its formidable reputation for cross-cultural education, will provide remedial tutoring in educational basics where necessary, and teaching materials for trade training. ATI will handle apprenticeships and shortterm skills courses, while the Larrakia Development Corporation provides the building and job opportunities for graduates through its own businesses and those of its industry partners. The social photographs from the launch ceremony are not too bad, either. The management teams from the companies that are making the Territory economy hum were present Macmahons, Sitzler, Toga group, CIC, Briety, Wolpers Grahl, Compass Group, Sky City, Airducter, BMD and McCracken Homes to name just some. But it was not just the big end of town from the Territory who turned up. Naoki Kuroda, the president of INPEX, flew in from Tokyo, with a delegation of the energy giants senior management and a $3 million cheque to help fund construction of the Larrakia Trade Training Centre. The Federal Minister for Resources and Energy, Martin Ferguson, travelled from Canberra to officially welcome a genuine, industry-based trade training initiative, and Chief Minister Paul Henderson committed funds from the NT Governments training budget to make sure no potential trainee misses out through financial hardship. And the way the concept of the trade training centre has been developed, nobody should miss out. As Nigel Browne, the chairman of the advisory committee to the Larrakia Development Corporation stressed at the official opening, the training centre is open to all Territorians, young and mature age, Aboriginal and nonAboriginal. Ideas and concepts tend to grow, Mr Browne told the gathering. Whilst initially focused on looking after our own people, the focus grew to include other disadvantaged Aboriginal youth, and then to the whole of the Territory. It became evident to the advisory committee and the board of the Larrakia Development Corporation that there was a gap in the current system of training and education. This led to the concept of developing a trade centre that catered to the needs of business, and the education of all those who aspired to meaningful employment. By combining the resources of Kormilda College, Advanced Training International and the Larrakia Development Corporation, students will have access to remedial education, and then to quality training through qualified trainers and assessors. The general community will benefit because the rapid increase in the work skills of Territorians, including mature age and non-Larrakia people, will reduce the gap between the supply and demand of local labour for major projects. More Territorians will be qualified to take the highpaying jobs available from energy and resource developments, and among these will be young men and women who previously did not have the opportunities or confidence to aspire to real jobs at the big end of the Territorys growing economy. According to Koolpinyah Barnes, the chair of the Larrakia Development Corporation, the trade training centre will have the capacity to end the fly-in, fly-out system which has traditionally supplied the technical skills necessary for the big civil and mechanical projects in the NT. Doug MacDonald, the general manager of Advanced Skills International, says flexibility will be the key to making the Larrakia Trade Training Centre the most open house skills provider yet seen in the Territory. If you are already in the workforce, and want to learn a trade, we can skill you up while you keep your day job, Mr MacDonald says. According to Greg Constantine, the chief executive of the Larrakia Development Corporation, the centre will handle up to 600 trainees each and every year when it hits its stride, making it the biggest trade training centre in the Northern Territory. If it lives up to its promise, the Larrakia Trade Training Centre will be to Territory job seekers and industry what President Obamas health bill is to the American hospital system. Or, as US Vice President Joe Biden might phrase it: This is a big f...ing deal! Comments can be directed to Peter Murphy at email@example.com OPINION