The union representing electricians has welcomed the news that a Labor government will restore the axed Tools for your Trade program to support apprentices as “a step in the right direction”.
“The Tools for your Trade program provides apprentices with a welcome boost at the start of their careers,” Electrical Trades Union national secretary Allen Hicks said.
“Trades like ours are highly technical, physically demanding and mentally tough. Young working people face significant obstacles getting into trades and this will help clear the path for them to become the skilled trades workers of tomorrow.”
The program provides small grants for apprentices throughout the life of their apprenticeship, helping to cover the cost of tools and other essential items.
Electrical Trades Union apprentices officer Mark Burgess said that apprentices had suffered immeasurably under the Abbott and Turnbull governments.
“You can’t tear $2.7 billion out of trades training without consequences,” Mr Burgess said.
“Abbott and Turnbull have bungled the Vocational Education Training (VET) portfolio, and apprentice completion rates have plummeted year on year,” he said.
“Fly-by-night training operations have sprung up, providing shonky training and massively inflated prices, and loading up young people with debt before they even earn their first dollar.”
“This policy certainly isn’t a magic bullet, but we are confident that in combination with the TAFE funding guarantee and a boost to reputable group training organisations it can provide a path to recovery for Australia’s desperately sick VET and apprenticeship system."
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