130,000 Less Apprentices - Apprenticeship System Not In Crisis?

Reports in today’s Murdoch press that the apprenticeship system is not in crisis are completely inaccurate.   Stakeholders across the country have expressed concern for months as apprenticeship numbers continue to drop following the Liberals’ $1 billion in cuts to apprentices.

“Apprentices provide vital skills to key parts of our economy.  Without urgent and meaningful intervention, the apprenticeship system in Australia will continue to underperform and fail to deliver for business and the community.

“The proportion of Australian workers employed as an apprentice or trainee has fallen to a worryingly low 2.7 per cent of total employment. 

“With the Federal Election looming, it is critically important that the Government and opposition parties ensure that fixing our failing apprenticeship system is put at the top of their election platforms.”

Innes Willox, Chief Executive, AiGroup, Media Release, 14 April 2016

“Australia cannot afford any more neglect of skills, training and apprenticeships if our economy is to keep up with the changing demands of the 21st century”.

“Mr Abbott, rather than tearing down the structures that underpin our world-renowned training system, should be building the capability of the training system to produce the skilled workers that we need.

Andrew Dettmer, AMWU National President, Media Release, 22 June 2015

“While acknowledging the need for fiscal belt tightening and rigour in spending, the funding cuts have had an impact on apprentices, trainees, group training organisations (GTOs) and host employers.

Group Training Australia Budget Submission 2015-16

“Only last week, figures released by the National Centre for Vocational Education Research (NCVER) show that traineeship and apprenticeship numbers have fallen by more than 40% over the past four years. It is clearly evident more needs to be done to address the shortfall.”

Media Release, HIA, 23 June 2016

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.

When Labor left office in September 2013, there were 415,800 apprentices in training.  In December 2015 there were 278,600.  That’s a drop of 137,200 apprentices in training across the country.

“The Liberals have not released one single policy to help apprentices start or complete their apprenticeship and continue to put their heads in the sand about the drop of more than a third of apprentices in training,” Ms Bird said.

“By contrast, Labor has announced a full suite of policies specifically aimed at improving commencement and completion numbers:

•          Ensuring a proportion of the jobs on major federally-funded projects are delivered as apprenticeships. One in ten jobs on Labor’s priority infrastructure projects will be filled by Australian apprentices. This will create 2,600 new apprenticeship places for young workers seeking a job and real skills. In government, we will also work with the States and Territories and industry to develop procurement rules for apprentices that will apply to all infrastructure, construction and defence projects with capital expenditure over $10 million.

•          Bringing back Tools for Your Trade – the valuable apprentice support program axed by the Abbott-Turnbull Government. From 1 July 2017, workers starting an apprenticeship will be eligible for $3,000 in payments throughout their training. Payments will be spaced to provide support to apprentices as they train and back them all the way to completion.

•          Helping more unemployed young people into apprenticeships by creating 10,000 new Apprentice Ready places.

•          Pilot a National Skills Recognition Entitlement program with 5,000 places to help mature-aged, retrenched workers turn their extensive work experience into formal qualifications.

•          Investing in Group Training so that these organisations can help to get more apprentices into work, with $10 million a year in new funding over the next four years.

•          Connecting potential apprentices with jobs and training, and ensure they gain high quality skills, Labor will also establish an Apprenticeships Connect search portal and appoint a dedicated Apprentice Advocate.”

“The Liberals don’t care about apprentices and refuse to invest in helping people to obtain the skills they need to be productive in the workforces of the future,” said Ms Bird.


FRIDAY, 24 JUNE 2016