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First vocational school launched

AUSTRALIA

For the first time in Australia, a polytechnic has obtained state government backing to set up a school on one of its campuses.

The Holmesglen institute of technical and further education in Melbourne plans to open Australia's first vocational secondary within 18 months. It will take students in their last two secondary years, funded by the state.

The school is expected to begin enrolling students before any of the 24 new technical schools being set up by the federal government.

Holmesglen director Bruce McKenzie raised the idea with the state government in mid-2004 and this may have triggered the federal scheme for vocational schools, which Prime Minister John Howard announced as one of his election pledges last October.

Launching the project, Lynne Kosky, education minister of the state of Victoria, predicted the scheme would be copied by other polytechnics.

Mr McKenzie said the new school would provide vital vocational opportunities. Full and part-time students would be enrolled as well as those from other schools wanting to do vocational courses with their final-year certificate. It would offer a variety of programmes, such as apprenticeships and traineeships, as well as new vocational certificates.

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