The Liberals have snuck through their first step towards dismantling the apprenticeship system that has served our tradespeople so well – all under a cloud of secrecy on the last day of Parliament.
In the ultimate cover-up of their sneaky plans to destroy apprenticeships, Scott Ryan, the Minister for Vocational Education didn’t bother consulting and didn’t even put out a press release.
The Liberals’ new pilot program, Apprenticeship Training – alternative delivery pilots, sounds alarm bells on a number of fronts.
Not content with cutting $1 billion from apprenticeship support, the Liberals are now advocating front-end, off the job institutional training.
Australia’s integrated apprenticeship training system is among the best in the word – apprentices learn while they work. They get to put the skills they learn in the classroom into practice at their place of employment.
The Liberals are looking to dismantle this system. This will mean that apprentices attend their training while not being able to refine their skills at work.
The program guidelines state that the pilots will be “developed, implemented and delivered in partnership with industry”. The guidelines do not require consideration of the long term interests of apprentices – just big business. Front-end, off the job institutional training is another way to cost-shift the price of training to apprentices and not pay them while they train.
It’s just another kick in the guts for people wanting to train and get the skills they need to start on their careers.
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.
In September 2013 there were 417,700 apprentices in training across
Australia. Because of the Liberal Government’s savage cuts there are now only 295,300 apprentices in training (September 2015).
That is 122,400 fewer apprentices in training across the country.
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 support apprentices to train and retrain to deliver on improving the participation, productivity, innovation and growth efforts required for the nation.
TUESDAY, 24 MAY 2016