Prized students’ golden opportunity

The demand for skilled workers is outstripping supply, Canberra Institute of Technology head Colin Adrian says.

”Our enrolments this year at the institute will be over 30,000 student enrolments, but as many as we train, we need as many again,” he said at yesterday’s graduation ceremony.

More than 300 students received their diplomas and certificates at the ceremony.

October’s total graduates are expected to number 1500.

Dr Adrian said practical experience was the key to a resurgent interest in skills training.

”People have heard for a few years now about skills shortage issues, with the growth of the economy, including the Canberra economy,” he said.

”We’re certainly seeing an increase in our numbers of both young people coming through school but also coming back for re-training.”

According to Dr Adrian, students from the institute can be aged anywhere from 15 to 70, and at any stage of their career.

Margaret Wallace worked as a secretary until a ”life-changing” paragliding accident made her re-evaluate her goals.

Ms Wallace has diplomas in event management and tourism, with an Institute Medal to boot.

The medals are awarded to the best academic performers in each of the institute’s eight training centres.

Ms Wallace is looking to a career in event management, ideally with Tourism Australia.

”Australia has a lot to offer … especially with the possibility of the [2018 or 2022 football] World Cup,” she said.

Dr Adrian said most students from the institute were already working in the ACT because of the nature of their training.


”We have some students from interstate, and this year will have over 1000 international students,” he said.

But despite the high turnover, Dr Adrian encouraged governments and communities to support vocational training.

”The more skills people can get, particularly if they are practical, work-oriented skills, the better for them as individuals … for their own personal and career development, but also for the community and the economy,” he said.

LOUIS ANDREWS | 23/10/2008 | The Canberra Times

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