Apprenticeships hammered by COVID-19 and government cuts

Eimear test O'Sullivan

Apprenticeships hammered by COVID-19 and government cuts


The Electrical Trades Union is warning the economy will be hammered by a severe skills shortage if federal and state governments don’t take urgent action now to keep skilled trades apprentices employed and provide apprenticeship opportunities for young Australians.



A survey released today shows four in ten apprentices could lose their jobs by the end of the year without a significant expansion of programs such as JobKeeper. The Business Chamber survey also predicts the number of young people starting apprenticeships will fall 36 per cent, or 54,000 this year, compared to last year. 


ETU National Secretary, Allen Hicks said the Abbott-Turnbull-Morrison federal Government had cut $3 billion from the vocational educational and training sector, letting apprenticeships and training places decline by 145,000.


“We are facing a perfect storm of long term underinvestment in training and now a sharp economic downturn,” Mr Hicks said. ”Unless we take urgent action now, the Australian economy is going to suffer a massive shortfall of skilled tradespeople like electricians in just a few short years.  


“Federal and state governments can prevent this by intervening now with extra funding for vocational training. This would turbo charge the  COVID recovery and set Australia up for a more prosperous future.


“Hundreds of thousands of young Australians have been turfed out of jobs through this crisis. But state and federal governments can play a constructive, proactive role to give these young people the skills and training they need to take their place in the recovery.


“State governments have a particularly important role to play by employing  more apprentices through  state owned enterprises. The federal government should boost financial incentives for employers to train apprentices.”


Contact Allen Hicks: 0419 721 037


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