Morrison urged to nurture apprentices

23 November 2021

The Morrison Government must resist employer demands for a flood of temporary foreign labour or risk throwing thousands of new apprentices on the scrapheap, according to the Electrical Trades Union. 

According to the new figures revealed by The Australian, the number of Aussies taking trade apprenticeships has surged to 217,000 while the total number of trade and non-trade traineeships across all parts of the workforce was 347,000 in July, a 27 per cent ­increase on pre-Covid levels (though well short of the  record 515,000 ­achieved in 2012.)

But the ETU has warned the progress is fragile and could easily be compromised if the Liberals cave in to their business lobby mates.

“The rise in apprenticeships is good news, but it could easily be derailed if big business succeeds in flooding the nation with temporary migrants who are ripe for exploitation,” said Michael Wright, Assistant National Secretary of the Electrical Trades Union. 

“The sad truth is it’s taken a pandemic to show that there are tens of thousands of young Australians who want to work, but until now, haven’t had the opportunity.

“Right now the Commonwealth Government appears to have cognitive dissonance. Josh Frydenberg wants to to blow the gates off and allow temporary migration to boom while Scott Morrison claims to want a home grown solution to the skills crisis. These positions are inconsistent. They can’t both be true.

“The ETU is staunchly in favour of permanent migration which has made a profound contribution to Australian prosperity. But temporary migration is a recipe for exploitation and undermining young Australians.

“The Government needs to stop speaking with a forked tongue and make its intentions clear.”

This article was publised on 23 November 2021.