Technological skills of world standard will be available to Western Australian job seekers when TAFE's new Advanced Manufacturing Technologies Centre in East Perth takes its first enrolments next year.
Premier Carmen Lawrence said the centre at the new TAFE campus would focus on the development of skills needed for value added industries in WA.
Speaking during a tour of the $19 million centre today, Dr Lawrence said the complex would integrate education and training with the needs of industry to capitalise on the opportunities to add value to the State's mineral, agricultural and other resource-based sectors.
"The centre has been established in partnership with industry to meet the vocational education and training needs of our export oriented companies," the Premier said.
"Western Australia is leading the nation in establishing successful links between industry and TAFE to provide employment training.
"The East Perth centre - with industry support - will foster research and development of skills in new manufacturing technologies.
"Based on several successful institutions overseas, including the Singapore Institutes, the centre will offer students access to state-of-the-art developments in science, engineering and information technology.
"Work is already underway to initiate joint TAFE/industry training, research and design projects.
"By February next year an estimated 200 students will be enrolled and the first corporate partners will be on site."
The Premier said equipment at the centre would include computer-based training, process control and robotics facilities, micro-computers, hydraulics, radiography and digital laboratories.
The close relationship with industry was expected to have significant impact on encouraging a greater industry-based contribution to education and training.
Among the ways the industry and TAFE could work together included:
· industry-owned equipment leased or made available to TAFE, possibly after hours;
· industry-owned equipment on short-term loan for practical work experience;
· industry facilities used for teaching purposes with company staff as trainers;
· industry staff working in the centre;
· industry work experience programs of three to six months; and,
· industry training programs.
"The development of the Advanced Manufacturing Technologies Centre is an investment by the State Government in WA's industry and export development into the next century," the Premier said.