Ian CausleyMember for Page- CanberraConnection

Improving boys education

Now that were almost halfway through January, parents with school-aged children will probably already have started thinking about the 2006 school year.

Recently, Federal Education Minister Dr Brendan Nelson announced that hundreds of Australian schools have been awarded grants under the first round of the Australian Governments Success for Boys programme.

Obviously, it is imperative that nothing is done to jeopardise the progress made over the past 20 years in the education of girls, however, the overwhelming evidence shows that boys are falling behind in our education system.

In my electorate of Page, at least six schools will be receiving grants averaging $10,000 per school to help them improve the way they work with boys.

Three key intervention areas to be addressed by the schools include: giving boys opportunities to benefit from positive male role models and mentors; improving literacy teaching and assessment; and using information and communication technology (ICT) to engage boys in learning.

Since 2003, the Australian Government has committed over $27 million to improve boys educational and social outcomes. Further information on the program and details of the successful schools visit www.successforboys.edu.au.

Tools grants for new apprentices

Employers and new apprentices will benefit from the Australian Governments new Tools For Your Trade initiative.

New apprentices who started from July 1 2005 in trades experiencing skills needs can receive a tool kit valued at up to $800. Many new apprentices who have recently commenced their training or are about to start will receive a financial head start in their new careers.

After eligible new apprentices have completed three months of their training, a voucher will be provided to their employer to purchase a tool kit. The apprentice can keep the kit upon completion of a further six months of training.

If the apprentice leaves before this time, the employer can still keep the tools for the use of other new apprentices, or work experience students.

This important initiative is one of many measures being introduced by the government to assist in addressing areas of skills needs in the trades.

Further information about the initiative, including eligibility, visit www.toolsforyourtrade.com.au or phone 1800 557 875. Other useful information is available at www.newapprenticeships.gov.au.

Government funds exhibition tour

Lismore and Grafton will enjoy the experiences of ConVerge: Northern Rivers Touring Ceramic Exhibition thanks to an Australian Government funding initiative.

A $42,000 grant has been provided to Arts Northern Rivers Inc, courtesy of the Australian Governments Visions of Australia program, which helps exhibitions to take their tour to towns across Australia.

ConVerge is a touring exhibition showcasing the work of 20 ceramic artists, both emerging and established, from the Northern Rivers area. The exhibition will highlight the diverse cultural influences on contemporary ceramic practice in Australia.

The artists and their work will be touring NSW and Queensland between 2006 and 2008. The exhibition will be visiting the Grafton Regional Gallery in January 2007 and the Lismore Regional Gallery in March 2007.

Office contacts

Phone: 6621 9909

Fax: 6621 9959

Address: PO Box 1119, Lismore, 2480

Email: ian.causley.mp@aph.gov.au

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