Support, Not Cuts, Needed for Apprentices

Comments over the weekend by NSW Skills Minister, John Barilaro, back Labor’s stance that support, not cuts are needed for apprentices.

Mr Barilaro said that higher wages for apprentices and trainees, and more student support in vocational education, was necessary because of the demographic profile of students had changed.

Australian Financial Review, 21 June 2015

“The NSW Skills Minister is absolutely right regarding his concerns that businesses were already wearing the costs of not having a skilled workforce - with apprenticeship commencements and completions dropping 20 per cent across the country, this problem will only get worse. 

“I hope that Mr Barilaro’s comments are heard by the Abbott Government and they wake up and realise that apprentices need support to start and complete an apprenticeship.  The $1 billion in cuts to apprentices is hitting hard out in the real world,” Sharon Bird said.

“Only 24,000 apprentices have taken up the Trade Support Loan debt scheme compared to 236,600 Tools for Your Trade Payments which were made to 192,666 Australian apprentices in 2012-13.  Apprentices are worried about taking on debt to complete their apprenticeship.

The Abbott 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. 

“The Abbott Government needs to heed the advice of their colleagues in New South Wales and put the axe away and put forward a positive plan to help young Australians start and complete an apprenticeship so that they can obtain the jobs of the future.

MONDAY, 22 JUNE 2015