Apprentice Numbers Fall By 1,127 In Dawson Under The Liberals

Apprenticeship numbers in Dawson have fallen by 33 per cent under George Christensen and the LNP’s watch.

Just this week, there have been reports that “the Dawson electorate has seen the largest jump in unemployment since the last federal election out of any seat in Queensland” with a jump of 3.7 per cent since the 2013 election.

This is not the time to be cutting funding to train our future workforce.

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

These cuts have had a devastating impact in Dawson with the number of apprentices in training falling from 3,340 in December 2013 to 2,213 in December 2015 – a drop of 1,127 local apprentices. Across the country, the numbers have fallen by over 130,000 since September 2013.

“This has all happened under George Christensen’s watch. As usual, he’s sat on his hands and done absolutely nothing for our apprentices.  He’s full of hot air,” said Mr Gilbert.

“Only Labor is serious about investing in apprentices, skills and training. Labor understands that to help drive economic growth and prosperity we need to invest in the education and skills of our people.

“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.”

Ms Bird said the LNP are a policy free zone when it comes to higher and technical education. They have not released a single policy this election that supports training and skills development for the workforce Australia needs for the future.”

“The LNP have also refused to come clean on their secret plans for a TAFE-destroying takeover of vocational education which included exposing TAFE to full competition.

Government-owned providers will be funded on the same basis as private providers. 
Leaked document, ‘The end of TAFE as we know it’: leaked paper details federal vocational takeover, Fairfax, 29 May 2016

By contrast, Labor has announced an extensive and comprehensive suite of policies to help apprentices, skills and training, including:

  • A TAFE Funding Guarantee.
  • Integrity measures to stop rorting in the vocational education system, including an $8,000 cap on VET FEE-HELP loans per year and a VET sector Ombudsman.
  • A sector-wide national review to ensure vocational education is able to meet the training needs of the nation.
  • Establishing Commonwealth Institutes of Higher Education to deliver new technical and education opportunities to areas where access remains difficult and participation is too low.
  • Boosting apprenticeships across the country by:
    • creating new apprenticeship opportunities through setting a quota of apprentices on major federally-funded projects.
    • reintroducing the Tools for Your Trade program at $3,000 per apprentice to support them from commencement to completion.
    • restoring support for Group Training organisations.
    • creating pathways into apprenticeships for 10,000 young people unemployed people through the Apprentice Ready program.
    • piloting a National Skills Recognition Entitlement program with 5,000 places to help mature-aged, retrenched workers turn their extensive work experience into formal qualifications.
    • connecting potential apprentices with jobs and training through an Apprenticeships Connect search portal.
    • appointing a dedicated Apprentice Advocate.

“Only a Shorten Labor Government will deliver the support for apprentices and TAFE that local residents expect and a vocational education system that delivers a skilled workforce for the future,” Ms Bird said.

MONDAY, 27 JUNE 2016