FALL IN WORLD RANKINGS SHOWS TURNBULL GOVERNMENT FAILING ON APPRENTICESHIPS

28 Nov 2017

Australia is losing its international reputation as a producer of skilled and talented workers due to the neglect and cuts of the Turnbull Coalition Government.

SENATOR THE HON DOUG CAMERON

SHADOW MINISTER FOR HOUSING AND HOMELESSNESS

SHADOW MINISTER FOR SKILLS, TAFE AND APPRENTICESHIPS

SENATOR FOR NEW SOUTH WALES

FALL IN WORLD RANKINGS SHOWS TURNBULL GOVERNMENT FAILING ON APPRENTICESHIPS

Australia is losing its international reputation as a producer of skilled and talented workers due to the neglect and cuts of the Turnbull Coalition Government.

In the latest IMD world talent ranking Australia fell three places to 19th out of 67 nations – putting it behind New Zealand, USA, Singapore, Hong Kong and most Western European countries.

It is particularly troubling that Australia is towards the bottom of the leader board when it comes to apprenticeships and employer commitment.

Australia is placed 51st for “Apprenticeships are sufficiently implemented” and 43rd for “Employee training is a high priority in companies.”

As a consequence Australia is falling down the world talent rankings when it comes to investment and development of home-grown talent.

The findings of the IMD report accord with the recent OECD report on Skills and Global Value Chains that showed Australia is poorly positioned in terms of skills to capitalise on opportunities in global value chains.

In table after table Australia ranked at or near the bottom of all OECD countries on skills metrics that contribute to growth and exports and Australia received a zero score in “aligning skills characteristics with the skills requirements of high-tech manufacturing and complex business services industries”.

These disappointing results and alarming figures come as a result of years of cuts and chaos under the Coalition.

Overall the amount of government support for apprentices, TAFE and VET has been cut by $3 billion under the Liberals and Nationals.

Since 2013 there has been 20 per cent drop in the number of government-funded hours of vocational education and training.

There are 148,000 fewer trainees and apprentices than when the Liberals came to government. There are 46,000 fewer trade apprentices. The government has turned a blind eye while up to 30 percent of apprentices are underpaid.

The government has abolished the Industry Skills Fund and has dismantled the cooperative approach to skills involving unions, employers and government.

However, it’s not just government that needs to lift its game. Research from the National Centre for Vocational Education Research (NCVER) emphasises the need for businesses to invest in training, alongside government support for vocational education and skills. Support for skills development by Australian businesses is patchy at best and leaves important groups of workers out of training.

This can, and must, be turned around.

Labor’s plan for jobs and skills development will see increased investment in TAFE and increased quality traineeships and apprenticeships.

Labor will restore the $637 million cut by the Turnbull government from VET funding in the 2017 Budget. Unlike the Liberals, Labor will guarantee secure and stable funding for our tertiary education system.

Labor will make TAFE the centrepiece of our training system by guaranteeing at least two-thirds of all government vocational education and training (VET) funding goes to TAFE and by investing $100 million in revitalising campuses across the country.

Labor will ensure that one in ten jobs on all Commonwealth priority projects are apprentices, and Labor will expand pre-apprentice programs for young jobseekers and invest in Advanced Adult Apprenticeships for workers in transition.

The Turnbull government’s cuts and neglect of skills, TAFE and apprenticeships is affecting the skill base of our country, reducing our productive performance and our international competitiveness. It’s time for a government that invests in skills, TAFE and apprenticeships.

MONDAY, 27 NOVEMBER 2017