ASSISTANT MINISTER IN DENIAL AS $9.2M APPRENTICESHIP TRIALS GRANT PROCESS RAISES SERIOUS QUESTIONS

27 Oct 2016

Assistant Minister for Vocational Education and Skills Karen Andrews claims that under the Turnbull Government the future of apprenticeships ‘remains bright’ and that a $9.2m trial of new apprenticeship models will lead to ‘more jobs’.

ASSISTANT MINISTER IN DENIAL AS $9.2M APPRENTICESHIP TRIALS GRANT PROCESS RAISES SERIOUS QUESTIONS
 

Assistant Minister for Vocational Education and Skills Karen Andrews claims that under the Turnbull Government the future of apprenticeships ‘remains bright’ and that a $9.2m trial of new apprenticeship models will lead to ‘more jobs’.

Unfortunately for Australian apprentices, the facts tell a different story.

Apprenticeship numbers in Australia have been in free fall under the Abbott -Turnbull Government. When Labor left office there were 415,000 apprentices in training. The latest figures, for March 2016, show apprenticeship numbers were down to 286,500.

The Turnbull Government’s response has been to take $1 billion out of apprentices programs, while claiming that a $9.2 million pilot program of Alternative Apprenticeships Models (AAM) will arrest the decline.

Investigation into the details of the AAM program has raised more questions than answers.

The government has repeatedly failed to explain why three grants worth more than $2 million each came to be recommended for funding, without a competitive tender, to the same providers that presented to the Minister’s hand-picked Advisory Group.

“These apprenticeship pilot projects still have massive question marks hanging over them,” said Senator Cameron.

“At least one of the projects bears remarkable similarities with existing programs. All three projects were given the same amount of money which raises questions as to whether they are unique and tailored project trials.

“The process for awarding the grants for this project was opaque at best. I am deeply concerned that these pilot programs may not deliver value for money for the taxpayer, as the process for awarding the grants is very troubling.

“It will take much more than a few pilot projects to fix the mess the Turnbull Government has made of skills and apprenticeships. The detail on these trials is scant enough.

“Handing out $9.2 million for the Government’s pet projects cannot disguise their incapacity to address the fundamental problems facing our skill base,” said Senator Cameron.

WEDNESDAY, 26 OCTOBER 2016