GOVERNMENT ADMITS $6 MILLION SPEND BUT NO NEW APPRENTICES

1 Jun 2017

The government has confirmed in Senate Estimates[1] they are spending $6 million on three Alternative Apprenticeship Model trials that will not deliver a single qualified tradesperson.

GOVERNMENT ADMITS $6 MILLION SPEND BUT NO NEW APPRENTICES

The government has confirmed in Senate Estimates[1] they are spending $6 million on three Alternative Apprenticeship Model trials that will not deliver a single qualified tradesperson.

Education Minister Simon Birmingham also failed to answer why trials were provided $235,000 before they even had project plans in place.

The government is trying to avoid scrutiny on these programs by withholding documents from the Senate.

Part of the Australian National Audit Office report concerning Bob Day’s North East Vocational College (NEVC) showed that the Minister’s own advisory group said:

“The Advisory Group agreed not to support the Student Builder proposal.”

The document that showed this important admission was not provided to the Senate, despite repeated demands and questions.

The government was also unable to answer how much extra the pilot program will cost in student support.

While apprentices are paid wages, ‘student builders’ may be eligible for Youth Allowance, resulting in a cost-shift from employers to taxpayers. Nor could the government say what protections or workers compensation coverage is in place for ‘student builders’ while they are working unpaid as part of the NEVC program.

The Coalition has cut $1 billion from apprenticeship programs while undermining trades training and qualifications by prioritising the trial of an apprenticeship model that does away with the employment relationship – a fundamental feature of quality apprenticeships.

The Alternative Apprenticeship Model pilot program still has major questions hanging over it and it is clear that it will do nothing to arrest the dramatic decline in apprentice numbers seen under this government.

THURSDAY, 1 JUNE 2017

[1] Relevant answers at 14.49.30