A state government MP got her first look at progress on Warrnambool's new $20m library which is set to open its doors to the public in August.
Speaking about the role of apprentices in the build, Minister for Training and Skills Gayle Tierney said there would soon be an announcement on "the next big project" in Warrnambool.
Boasting some of the best views of the foreshore, the new library on the South West Tafe site is set to feature a cafe, a reading room, meeting rooms and public access to computers and a games and digital zone.
It will also be home to the first jobs hub in regional Victoria that Apprenticeships Victoria will establish. "I'm pretty excited about that," she said.
Ms Tierney said the project was one of three across the state that was using TAFE students connected with a local build and was the only one outside metropolitan Melbourne.
"So apart from it being a very special project, it's a very special statewide project for Warrnambool to be absolutely up there spearheading this new TAFE demonstration model of making sure that our TAFE kids get the first opportunity to work on our big build projects," she said.
"We're doing lots of things behind the scenes to try and assist in terms of the next big project here in Warrnambool. Hopefully there will be some good news in respect of that." She said the project would also encourage better retention and completion rates among apprentices
Ms Tierney said the new learning and library hub would be a world-class asset that apprentices who worked on the project would be able to walk past in years to come and say: "I helped build that".
"It's about making sure our local kids get a chance to work on a job locally whilst gaining their apprenticeship," she said.
There are 75 people working on the project including 39 apprentices. Plumber Grace Simpson, who has just finished her apprenticeship while working on site, said she had gone down a number of different paths in search of her career calling.
From university, to an internship in Malaysia and working in retail and hospitality, nothing really appealed until she tried her hand at plumbing.
"I couldn't find that passion in anything and I thought the only thing I haven't tried is a trade and I was lucky enough to do work experience and got offered an apprenticeship," she said.
After doing a lot of maintenance jobs during her apprenticeship, she said working on a complex project like the library was a good learning opportunity.
The state government has chipped in $16.3 million towards the project, the council $3.2 million and Tafe $830,000. Ms Tierney labelled it a "passion project". "We are really are just absolutely enamoured with this project," she said.
Ms Tierney said that when they announced the funding for the project three years there was not a dry eye in the house, and the challenge would now be to see who could keep themselves from crying with joy when they finally cut the ribbon on its completion later in the year.
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