EDUCATION MINISTER’S DANGEROUS APPRENTICESHIPS TRIAL CANNOT FIX VOCATIONAL EDUCATION AND TRAINING PROBLEMS

15 Aug 2016

In his speech to the ADC Education Summit on Friday the Education Minister made passing comment on apprenticeships and the need for quality in the VET system and the opportunities available for apprentices.

SENATOR THE HON DOUG CAMERON

SHADOW MINISTER FOR HOUSING AND HOMELESSNESS

SHADOW MINISTER FOR SKILLS AND APPRENTICESHIPS

SENATOR FOR NEW SOUTH WALES

 

EDUCATION MINISTER’S DANGEROUS APPRENTICESHIPS TRIAL CANNOT FIX VOCATIONAL EDUCATION AND TRAINING PROBLEMS

In his speech to the ADC Education Summit on Friday the Education Minister made passing comment on apprenticeships and the need for quality in the VET system and the opportunities available for apprentices.

If Senator Birmingham really cared about the VET system and apprentices he would be dealing with the growing crisis in the VET system. He would take steps to ensure that the quality of apprentice training is protected and profiteering in the industry is replaced by a focus on the needs of apprentices and the industries they work in.

The first step is for the Minister to put on hold the expenditure of $9.2 million on the Turnbull Government’s ill-advised proposal to conduct trials on "new systems" of apprenticeships.

Rather than spend $9.2 million of public funds on a trial dreamt up by a select group of the Minister’s mates, he should be consulting with all interested parties on how to improve skill acquisition and apprenticeships across all sectors of industry.

Senator Birmingham is part of a government riven with internal division, interpersonal conflict and lacking in policy courage or conviction. Apprentices and improved skill development policy needs a government that cares for our communities and industries and is not beholden to the right-wing Liberal extremists who have no commitment to Australian jobs or apprenticeships.

Since their election in 2013, the Abbott-Turnbull Government has cut $2.75 billion from the skills portfolio, including $1 billion cut from apprenticeships. Apprenticeships have declined by 136,400 leading to a skills shortage crisis that affects the productive performance of every sector of the economy.

Making speeches and sloganeering is not an alternative to industry development and effective oversight of the VET and Apprenticeship system.

Only Labor will stand up for apprentices and a skills system designed to improve the productive performance of the economy.

Labor understands that apprenticeships and proper skill development strategies are critical to meet the needs of industry, and the challenges of technological development and increased international competition.

Labor will consult with the cross bench on moving to establish a Senate committee inquiry into the implications of the government's ill-considered approach to the Australian apprenticeship system.

MONDAY, 15 AUGUST 2016