Abbott Government Fails The Apprenticeships Test


After 18 months in government and $1 billion in cuts to apprenticeship support, the Abbott Government now faces a drop of approximately 20 per cent in both apprentice commencements and completions. 

The Government has failed to demonstrate they have any proposal aimed at increasing the number of apprenticeships available to young Australians and mature aged people looking to retrain. 

The National Centre for Vocational Education and Research (NCVER) report, Apprentices and Trainees 2014 December Quarter, reveals that in the 12 months to 31 December 2014, commencements decreased by 21.9 per cent and completions decreased by 17.8 per cent compared to the previous 12 months. 

The Minister responsible has claimed that he’s desperately trying to work on policies and strategies that can rebuild the system:


“what we’re desperately trying to do now is work on policies and strategies that can rebuild the system”


Minister Simon Birmingham, 2GB, 21 May 2015


“Despite these vague claims by the Minister - we haven’t seen one policy to date which actually increases investment in Australian apprenticeships or expands their number.  All we’ve seen is a whopping big axe,” Sharon Bird said. 

The Government’s own record to date condemns them: 

  • $1 billion in cuts to apprenticeship programs in the 2014-15 Budget;

  • Replaced apprentice support with apprentice debt;

  • Rebadged and cut funding to Australian Apprenticeship Centres;

  • Abolished the Joint Group Training program;

Put forward no new ideas for training people for the jobs of the future. 

“Before the election Tony Abbott promised that the Coalition would provide better support for Australia’s apprentices.  They have now had two Budgets and all we’ve seen is cuts, cuts and more cuts.  

“Minister Birmingham needs to stop the empty rhetoric and start investing in programs to develop the skills and training that Australians need to obtain the jobs of the future. 

“The Minister says he is working on something and all the while new apprentices aren’t starting which will only mean more skills shortages across nearly all sectors in the future.

“C’mon Minister, have a go!”