In a joint release between Prime Minister Tony Abbott and the Minister of Industry Ian MacFarlane, plans for the Commonwealth Government to invest $200 million each year to establish a new Australian Apprenticeship Support Network were unveiled.
The goal of the Australian Support Network will be to lift apprenticeship completion rates and give young Australians the best opportunity to gain employment, and provide employers with the skilled and productive employees they need to grow their business.
The new system will:
- Connect apprentices and employers through targeted job-matching;
- Provide advice about different course options and training delivery options;
- Deliver personalised mentoring and support to apprentices;
- Provide advice to businesses taking on apprentices, including their roles and responsibilities; and
- Administer the Australian Apprenticeships Incentives Program including employer incentives and trade support loans.
Paul Miles, CEO of BUSY At Work, welcomed the government changes, particularly the focus on the needs of Industry.
“This is terrific news for Industry and apprentices. Employers want to receive simple, effective services without any administrative burden to their business. It’s great to know that this employer and outcome driven service is on its way”
Paul Daly, CEO of Rail Skills Australasia reflected on the positive change this will bring.
“The rail industry looks forward to working within this new apprenticeship system that will bring better apprenticeship outcomes and reduce the dropout rates across the more than 40 core trades that service rail. “
The current administrative based system focuses on processing paperwork for contract sign-ups and administrative compliance for employers, state and Commonwealth departments, rather than the need for appropriate support that apprentices and employers need to achieve their outcomes.
With completion rates currently around 50 per cent, the need to address apprentice and employer issues and requirements is vital.
The Government’s new streamlined and effective system will replace the current system and will commence from 1 July 2015, making it much easier for employers to recruit, train and retain apprentices and trainees.
Laura Barnes, Executive Director of Health and Community Services Workforce Council beleives the change will be crucial in retaining young people in the industry.
“As the fastest growing industry in Australia, health and community services are reliant upon young people entering the workforce to meet skills and labour needs. Increasing apprenticeships and traineeship up-take and completion rates will be important strategies and focussing on the needs of employers, reducing red tape and streamlining processes are key to strengthening employer engagement and increasing retention.”
Apprentices and businesses will be able to access the Australian Apprenticeship Support Network’s services at no cost.