Parliament Secretary for Regional Victoria and Member for Yan Yean, Danielle Green today announced a $1.6 million funding boost for Costa Group and Melbourne Polytechnic to train the next generation of horticulture workers in Mernda.

Ms Green said the funding would deliver a core skills curriculum for field workers across a number of sectors within the Victorian horticulture industry, including mushroom, salad and field vegetables.

The training will include virtual picking technologies to allow both field workers and trainers to experience work in the field to help them get job ready.

The project will have a focus on increasing productivity by reducing worker turnover and workplace injuries, improving safety and reducing product wastage.

The project is being funded under the Workforce Training Innovation Fund, part of the Victorian Government’s Skills First initiative, which is delivering training to respond to industry-led demand for specific skills in regions and specialist areas that are not being adequately met by the current training market.

To make sure Victorians can get the skills they need for good, secure jobs building our state and caring for our community, the Victorian Budget 2018/19 gives Victorians every tool they need to undertake a quality, accredited TAFE qualification.

To help remove cost as a barrier to training, the Andrews Labor Government is delivering $172 million to make 30 priority TAFE courses and 18 pre-apprenticeship courses free, with no tuition fees.

We’re supporting more Victorians to access the training they need, with $303.8 million to create more than 30,000 new training places.

We’re also modernising apprenticeships, with $43.8 million to revamp learning materials, ensure consistent industry standards with new independent assessments, and bring back trade papers to recognise these qualifications.

Quotes attributable to Parliament Secretary for Regional Victoria and Member for Yan Yean Danielle Green

“The Andrews Labor Government is proud to be investing in this innovative project that will play a key role in ensuring we have the skilled workers Victoria needs for its growing horticulture sector.”

“This project is yet another example of the work we’re doing to give all Victorians access to the training they need to get a job.”

“Unlike the Liberals, who made it their mission to destroy TAFE – we have made the record investments needed to put it back at the heart of training in Victoria.”

Quotes attributable to Minister for Training and Skills Gayle Tierney

“We want Victorians to be first in line for the jobs we’re creating – that’s why we’re making record investments in training and making 30 priority TAFE courses tuition free.”