Liberals’ $1 Billion In Cuts = 8,339 Fewer Apprentices In South Australia

Sharon Bird visited the Adelaide Training and Employment Centre and PEER VEET with Nick Champion, Steve Georganas, Glen Dallimore and Senator Anne McEwen to discuss the drop of apprentices in training in South Australia and the importance of TAFE in training and retraining Australia’s workforce.

The Liberals have cut $2.75 billion from the skills portfolio, including $1 billion in cuts to apprentices through the Tools for Your Trade program and access and mentoring programs. 

These cuts have hit local apprentices hard.

They have had a devastating impact on apprentices in training in South Australia, with numbers falling from 30,286 in June 2014 to 21,947 in March 2015.

That is a drop of 8,339 apprentices, which is almost 30 per cent fewer apprentices in South Australia. The local breakdown of apprentice numbers is as follows: 

Electorate

June 2014

March 2015

Loss

Percentage

Adelaide

5,615

3,949

-1,666

-29.7%

Barker

4,537

3,498

-1,039

-22.9%

Boothby

1,552

1,201

-351

-22.6%

Grey

3,295

2,372

-923

-28%

Hindmarsh

2,415

1,663

-752

-31.1%

Kingston

1,660

1,186

-474

-28.6%

Makin

1,601

1,072

-529

-33%

Mayo

1,272

1,019

-253

-19.9%

Port Adelaide

4,695

3,379

-1,316

-28%

Sturt

1,330

898

-432

-32.5%

Wakefield

2,314

1,710

-604

-26.1%

In September 2013, there were 417,700 apprentices in training across Australia. Because of the Abbott-Turnbull Government’s savage cuts, this had dropped to only 295,300 apprentices in training by September 2015. 

That is 122,400 fewer apprentices in training across the country. The Liberals have no plan to address apprenticeship support and just continue to play the blame game. 

They mismanage VET FEE-HELP – they blame everyone but themselves.

They axe $1 billion in apprenticeship support and numbers drop by 25 per cent - they blame everyone but themselves.

The answer they have now is nothing more than a rushed plan to dismantle apprenticeships.

When will the Liberals start acting like they are a grown-up government and start taking responsibility for their mismanagement of VET FEE-HELP?

Before the last election, the Liberals promised that they would provide better support for Australia’s apprentices – sadly they have cut funding and defaulted to their fallback position of relying heavily on 457 visas without also investing in skills and training.

While the Liberals have taken a wrecking ball to South Australian jobs, Labor has a plan which will create the jobs of tomorrow by investing in South Australia.

We have already committed $59 million to assist automotive suppliers to transition to new industries and $500 million for the AdeLINK tram network which will create 2,000 jobs and support Australia’s steel industries.

Last year, on National TAFE Day, Bill Shorten and Sharon Bird announced Labor’s plan to back TAFE by developing a National Priority Plan to place TAFE squarely as the public provider within the VET sector and ensure TAFE’s viability and strength into the future. 

Labor has also announced a full, evidence-based review of the vocational education and training system to build a stronger VET sector and weed out dodgy providers and student rip-offs.

Training the workers of the future is a critical issue for our economy, for productivity and for communities. We need to put in place the next generation of skilled tradespeople to take on the jobs that are emerging and to ensure that we can meet future workforce needs.

It is vital that we train and retrain our workforce to deliver on improving the participation, productivity, innovation and growth efforts required for the nation.

WEDNESDAY, 25 MAY 2016