As a former TAFE student, it gives me great pleasure to support this motion. I commend the member for Northern Tablelands for his interest in and support for this important sector.
I must say that I very much enjoyed doing my certificate IV in commercial cookery when my partner sent me to learn to cook because I lacked that skill. TAFE NSW provides essential support for the State's industry and economic development. The largest post-secondary educational institution in my electorate is Hornsby College of TAFE, which is known for its diversity of courses, student support and holistic and practical approach to learning.
People in my electorate need TAFE colleges. I only have to drive down the Pacific Highway through my electorate to know how important TAFE colleges are to ensuring the creation of employment and other opportunities to all residents. Thirty-seven per cent of the people of my electorate are employed as technicians and trade workers, in sales, community and personal services, labourers, workers, or machinery operators and drivers. These jobs would not exist if it were not for the strength of TAFE colleges. TAFE NSW provides a vital role in addressing the challenges facing the New South Wales economy. Specifically, TAFE NSW delivers training that increases workforce participation and reduces skills shortages. As the nation's leading vocational education and training provider, TAFE NSW has an enviable record. An independent economic analysis of the value of TAFE NSW found that for every $1 invested in TAFE, benefits worth $6.40 are returned to the State over 20 years. Around one in nine working-age people in New South Wales enrols in TAFE NSW annually to upgrade their skills so they remain current with workforce needs and particularly with new and emerging technologies.
TAFE NSW has numerous industry partnerships and is playing its part in supporting industry and improving productivity in our workforce. It is working with Telstra, for example, and Innovation and Business Skills Australia to develop new training for information technology and telecommunications engineers. Currently 400 Telstra employees are training in TAFE NSW. Northern Sydney TAFE is pioneering partnerships with Microsoft, Cisco and Apple to deliver information, communication and technology training and testing at North Sydney and Meadowbank colleges.
Dr Geoff Lee: And the University of Western Sydney.
Mr MATT KEAN: And the University of Western Sydney. The Northern Sydney Institute, at Meadowbank College, is one of only a few Cisco-authorised training centres in the world that can offer specialised security instructor-level training. What a great thing for our community. The Illawarra Institute has a longstanding partnership with Bega Cheese for the delivery of food processing traineeships for production staff. New employees and school leavers with Bega Cheese are able to progress through their training and become permanent staff. A number of TAFE NSW institutes deliver training for Ramsay Health Care to provide high-quality training for enrolled nurses, thereby reducing skills shortages in our health sector.
But that is not all. TAFE NSW is the leading provider of apprenticeship training. In 2010, TAFE NSW supported more than 43,000 apprentices, which is a remarkable 90 per cent of all apprentices trained in New South Wales. As I mentioned earlier, many people in my electorate have been beneficiaries of the quality education that our TAFE system provides. TAFE NSW traineeship and apprenticeship training ensures we have quality and work-ready people in our State's small to medium businesses, as well as in our large corporations. This training is vital to developing our economy and avoid projected skills shortages. For example, the TAFE New South Wales Sydney Institute delivers a pre-apprenticeship program for Energy Australia. The course is for young people with career aspirations in the electro-technology industry and prepares them for the certificate III apprenticeship.
Likewise, Western Sydney Institute—and I note the presence in the Chamber of the member for Parramatta—delivers trainee and apprentice training in competitive manufacturing, front-line management and production and processing across Australia at Owens-Illinois Inc. [O-I] glass sites. Western Sydney is currently working on a project to improve apprentice completions with O-I glass. TAFE NSW is acutely aware of the need to deliver value for money, to be efficient, to be flexible and to be responsive. TAFE NSW is focusing on increasing industry productivity by delivering higher-level qualifications. TAFE NSW offers industry the full range of qualifications, from entry level training through to diplomas, advanced diplomas and degrees.