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NSW Premier promises 250,000 new jobs in regional and western Sydney

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<em>(Photo: AAP)</em>
(Photo: AAP)

NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian has promised to create 250,000 jobs over the next four years with a particular focus on western Sydney and regional NSW.

This will involve building two vocational high schools and two additional ‘productivity bootcamps’ to help young people build skills and careers.

$17 million will be set aside to construct specialist training facilities at two existing schools that will be based in Western Sydney and the Northern Rivers area, which Berejiklian said on Monday had challenges with youth unemployment.

The vocational high schools will train students up in skills that are in high demand by local employers and allow them to study a trade – such as construction, electro-technology, hospitality, metal, and engineering – while completing their HSC.

The ‘productivity bootcamp’, an 8-week training program in the construction industry ready that already operates in Quakers Hill and Penrith, will expand to two more locations in western Sydney and the south coast.

Participants will work on a major NSW infrastructure project over the duration of the program.

Berejiklian said NSW’s employment-generating infrastructure project pipeline, which includes the F6 extension, Western Harbour Tunnel, Metro West, Metro South West and WestConnex, was a “key driver” in jobs growth.

“We simply cannot afford to take our foot off the pedal,” she said.

Deputy premier and minister for skills John Barilaro said the “greatest threat to our economy” was a lack of skilled workers.

“We are doing more to support our young people to assure them that a trade is both a credible and rewarding career option,” Barilaro said.

“We’ve got to look at new ways of making sure the pipeline of young people that are considering a trade is continuing,” he told the SMH.

“[The trade schools] will give us an opportunity, in line with what the industry is asking for, to remind kids that blue collar is back, being a tradie is the way to go.”

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