The South West has come out as a big winner from a State Government initiative to fund trainees in the regions. Regional Development Minister Don Punch announced $1.9 million in funding for Community Resource Centres and local governments across the State as part of the Regional Traineeship Program. The South West region has received 14 of the 50 traineeship grants, alongside another for the Waroona CRC in the Peel region. Making the announcement in Waroona on Friday, Mr Punch highlighted the benefits of the program. “They are really valuable in helping to support the development of local skills, particularly in the community services space, but they can also be in a variety of areas,” he said. “I know local governments have taken on traineeships in horticulture, civil construction and those areas, but it really helps to support the development of very localised skills in the local community.“ The Waroona CRC will use its grant to take on a trainee to complete a Certificate in Business Administration or Work Skills. Centre manager Stuart Macdonald said at least three of its staff members were originally employed through the program, with its current trainee set to join the centre permanently next year. “The benefits to the CRC are enormous and the benefits to the community are likewise,” he said. Mr Macdonald said the program brought extra skills to the community. “It’s nice to open up opportunities for traineeships to mature age people as well, it is not just young people,” he said. “It is giving people a second chance and a skill set to go out to a very competitive job market. “If we can help that from a community perspective, everybody’s a winner.” The Yarloop, Harvey, West Arthur, Northcliffe, Pemberton, Bridgetown, Boyup Brook and Augusta CRCs will use the funding to educate their trainees on business. The Brunswick Junction CRC’s trainee will focus on horticulture, while the Greenbushes, Manjimup and Nannup CRCs will train theirs in accounts administration. Walpole CRC will build up its trainee’s skills in community services work. The Shire of Dardanup is the only South West council to benefit from this year’s program funding, with its trainee to focus on business.