MG My Gateway

About this Item
SubjectsApprentices; Business
SpeakersCorrigan Mr Geoff
BusinessPrivate Members Statements

Page: 1414

    Mr GEOFF CORRIGAN (Camden) [5.34 p.m.]: On Friday 18 August 2006 it was my pleasure to attend the twenty-fifth anniversary dinner of the Macarthur Group of Companies at Campbelltown RSL Club. I congratulate the board on an excellent function and the work it does for our community. The Macarthur Group of Companies was established 25 years ago as Macarthur Group Apprentices. Since that time it has had several changes of name to reflect the changing nature of the training provided. The name changed from Macarthur Group Apprentices to Macarthur Group Training when I was on the board, and then to Macarthur Group of Companies. On the night it was announced that the group had changed its name again to reflect its dynamic growth and diversity of business areas in which it is involved. The group was established in 1981 to train apprentices. In its first year of operation it had one apprentice.

    I pay particular tribute—as was done on the night—to two men who have been on the board since day one. I refer to Graeme Bush and Peter Hayward. Both have Order of Australia medals that were awarded in recognition of their service, not only to the Macarthur Group of Companies but also to a variety of different organisations. I particularly mention Graeme Bush, who was also a long-term chairman of the Macarthur Health Service. With the help of the three local councils—that is, Camden, Wollondilly and Campbelltown—the first step was taken to establish Macarthur Group Apprentices. As I said, in its first year of operation the group had one apprentice. The growth area was in training carpenters. It was hard and slow work to establish the company. In the early days it primarily involved small businesses, but that constantly changed with vocational education systems. Macarthur Group Training emerged in the early 1990s and trainees were employed.

    The Macarthur Group of Companies formed an important relationship with the ACTU Lend Lease Foundation, which has been a great help not only to Macarthur Group but also to the Macarthur region. The organisation has continued to grow and has forged important relationships with the Redfern-Waterloo Authority, the Army Reserve Trainee and Apprenticeship Program—a scheme promoting unique work options—and the Metals and Engineering Recruitment Scheme [MARS], which is targeting the metals and engineering skills shortages. MARS won the 2005 Innovation Award and I have proudly attended its graduation ceremonies to congratulate the participants on their achievements. I also congratulate the local councils on taking up the cause. They all have trainees, who are often employed by the councils on completing their traineeships. Of course, some move into the broader community.

    There is a common misperception that apprentices are still the kids who leave school at the end of year 10. However, these days many employers prefer apprentices to have completed their Higher School Certificate [HSC]. One of the most prominent employers in Macarthur Group Training—Dave Funnell, from Funnell Electrical—insists that all his apprentices have their HSC because he finds that if they do they are better prepared. There has been talk in the media about young people who want to work with their hands leaving school before they have completed year 12. Dave Funnell has found that they are better off if they have reached that level of education. I found that within my own family. One of my sons did the HSC and found his carpentry apprenticeship easy, whereas the other struggled a bit because he left school in year 10.

    To reflect the change in training and to move with the times, the group has launched a new brand. I congratulate Chairman Robert Rofe and Chief Executive Officer Naomi Brennan on the excellent work they do in guiding the board members, who are volunteers. The new brand reflects not only the changes in training methods but also the changes in young people and how they approach the job market. The Macarthur Group of Companies is now MG My Gateway. As the chairman said:

    MG My Gateway is the portal, the way through for businesses to get the highest level of service they require or to source the very best candidates for their company. It is the way for young people to find out what they are looking for, to be supported through their training and to reach their goal.

    I congratulate MG My Gateway and hope that in 25 years I can attend another celebration—not necessarily as a member of Parliament but as a supporter—of its continued growth in our region. The company does a fantastic job.