none
none

Urgent Action Needed to Halt Free-Fall in Apprentice Numbers

16-06-2014
by 
in 

The Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ACCI), Australia's largest and most representative business organisation, has called for urgent government action to arrest the sharp decline in apprenticeship numbers.

ACCI CEO, Kate Carnell blamed serious cutbacks to incentive and support programs by successive Labor governments for the decline.

Ms Carnell says it is incorrect to blame the fall in apprenticeship numbers on 457 visas, as claimed by some union officials.

The union officials had seized on recent data from the National Centre for Vocational Education Research revealing a 12.9 per cent fall in the number of trainees and apprentices from last year to inaccurately claim migrant labour was costing Australian jobs.

"This is simply wrong," Ms Carnell said.

"The apprenticeship commencements have been falling for several years largely because of serious cutbacks to incentive and support programs by successive Labor governments.”

Ms Carnell said in the majority of cases 457 visas are used to fill jobs where there are genuine skills shortages and not enough qualified Australians to fill them.  

They are also often used for jobs in locations local people don’t want to relocate for.

Ms Carnell said ACCI has been warning for years that the cuts would lead to a drop off in apprenticeship numbers.

“And that’s exactly what has happened,” Ms Carnell said.

“The employment prospects of our young people need more than glib one-liners – they need serious examination and action.

"For years now ACCI has been urging politicians from all sides to bring apprenticeships and training onto the front page of political discussion and to work together.

"The free-fall in apprenticeship numbers is deeply alarming. With more and more young people not involved in either full-time work or full-time training we are facing what could become an inter-generational problem.”

Ms Carnell said urgent action is needed to turn the trend around.

“That means industry and government working together to restore incentives and reduce the cost for employers to take on apprentices.”

Ms Carnell said that it was pleasing to see the Coalition’s first budget had not repeated Labor's cuts to apprenticeship incentives.

But the Abbott government’s emphasis on "earn or learn" meant we need to re-assess our priorities here.

"We need to ask ourselves as a community whether we still see apprenticeships as a central pillar of training. If so we need to ensure the appropriate support programs and other measures are in place."

Related news & editorials

  1. 18.05.2017
    18.05.2017
    by      In
    Available now from RS Components, the Arduino CTC 101 Education Kit is a complete e-learning platform enabling young students to learn the fundamentals of electronics, programming and mechatronics. The CTC 101 kit has been designed for teachers and other instructors in secondary schools, and is... Read More
  2. 18.05.2017
    18.05.2017
    by      In
    Preparing the defence industry’s future workforce for the biggest series of naval projects in Australia’s history has universities and training providers working together to match the skill supply with the predicted demand.
    South Australia’s three public universities have partnered with TAFE SA and... Read More
  3. 18.04.2017
    18.04.2017
    by      In
    A “missing puzzle piece” to help solve the infamous Travelling Salesman Problem (TSP) has been developed in Australia, researchers say.
    The algorithm, called Kookaburra, was developed at Flinders University in South Australia and works in conjunction with the North American computer code Concorde... Read More
  4. 04.04.2017
    04.04.2017
    by      In
    SEW-Eurodrive has kicked off its 2017 DriveAcademy programme of Australia-wide training courses. The courses cover a wide range of topics, and incorporate both basic theoretical principles and practical exercises. Each course is structured to prepare motor and drive users for tasks and problems... Read More