Industry Minister David Pisoni recently made his first trip to Whyalla as part of the new Liberal state government, meeting with Ottoway Engineering, Bis, Whyalla Aged Care and Career Employment Group.
The visit was part of a push by the government to increase the number of trainees in South Australia.
The government has pledged to provide an extra 20,000 apprentices in the next four years to combat a significant decline in numbers in the past five years.
Mr Pisoni said the government would invest $100 million in apprenticeships and traineeships in the next four years.
“We are going through the process of identifying how we can best get value for apprenticeship outcomes from that funding, and my consultation with this region is part of that,” he said.
“We want the regions to grow, we are very aware that 25 per cent of our exports come out of regional South Australia. We have a significant employment base in regional SA.”
Mr Pisoni said Whyalla was a good base for a skills centre in regional South Australia.
“Whyalla is a daily commute from Port Lincoln, Port Augusta, Port Pirie, Clare and Cleve so it is easily accessible by apprentices when they have off-the-job training,” he said.
Mr Pisoni said he had gained a sense of optimism from the local businesses he spoke to.
“Because of the new owner of the steelworks, people are now thinking of the future,” he said.