Apprenticeships in sharp decline while Turnbull Government sits on its hands

Nicholas McCallum

MEDIA RELEASE: Thursday 15 March, 2018

The Electrical Trades Union demands the Turnbull Government get its priorities in order and stop the haemorrhaging in Australia’s Vocational Education and Training sector.

Since the Abbott-Turnbull Government came to power the number of Australians completing apprenticeships has dropped by an alarming 37%, according to new figures released by the National Centre for Vocational Education Research.

In the 12 months from September 2016 alone, the number of people undergoing apprenticeship training dropped by 5.6%.

The ETU’s National Apprenticeship Officer Mark Burgess said with two in five fewer people learning a trade over the past six years, Australia has entered a training crisis under the Liberals’ watch.

“Six years of Liberal neglect has seen 151,063 opportunities for our youth go missing,” Mr Burgess said.

The National Apprenticeship Officer pointed out that from 2013 to 2017 electrical apprentices – one of the highest-paying trades – had dropped by 2252, or 6.5%.

“That’s well over 2000 fewer opportunities available for young people to get well-paying skills in a vital industry.

“The Turnbull and Abbott Governments abandoned Australian industry because they would rather big business get a tax cut than young people get valuable skills.

“We’ve heard little from Prime Minister Turnbull and Treasurer Scott Morrison about what’s good for business other than the trickle-down economics of cutting company tax.

“Handing back $65 billion to big business won’t help Australia in the long run.

“What will help Australia is investing in young people to get valuable skills in good-paying jobs so they can work in industries that will carry this nation forward in the 21st century,” Mr Burgess said.

However, Mr Burgess said Mr Turnbull’s state Liberal Party colleagues faired no better when it came to supporting TAFEs and the VET sector.

“Over much of the past decade, state LNP governments have gutted the VET sector and slashed funding to TAFE colleges when we should be ramping up spending,” Mr Burgess said.

“With the mining boom slowing down, Liberal-National governments across the country have sat on their hands instead of investing in that other valuable, natural resource: Australia’s youth.”

Media enquiries:

ETU National Apprenticeship Officer Mark Burgess

0438 732 301, mark@etuaustralia.org.au

ETU National Secretary Allen Hicks

0419 721 037, allen@etuaustralia.org.au


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