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Lifting apprenticeship completion rates with better support for apprentices and small businesses

8 September 2014

Joint release with the Prime Minister, the Hon Tony Abbott MP

The Commonwealth Government will invest $200 million each year to establish a new Australian Apprenticeship Support Network to lift apprenticeship completion rates.

The Australian Apprenticeship Support Network will give young Australians the best opportunity to get a job and provide employers with the skilled and productive employees they need to grow their business.

Apprentices will be assisted to find an employer to begin their apprenticeship and receive mentoring through to the successful completion of their apprenticeship.

Apprentices will be able to access career advice with dedicated support outside their workplace throughout their apprenticeship.

The new Australian Apprenticeship Support Network will also undertake community employment outreach by working with employers, industry groups and local chambers of commerce to identify job opportunities and employer skills needs.

The new Network will provide a one-stop-shop for employers, particularly small business, looking to hire a new apprentice suited to their business.

The Government is answering the call of employers, industry groups and feedback from apprentices to improve the current system which has been in place since the 1990s.

The current system is largely administrative – processing paperwork for contract sign-ups and administrative compliance for employers, state and Commonwealth departments – without the appropriate support that apprentices and employers need.

There is too much red tape, with apprenticeship centres spending more than half their time filling out paperwork.

The true success of the VET sector must be measured in how well it connects skilled workers to real jobs, not how much paperwork is completed.

The Government’s new streamlined and effective system will replace the unwieldy and overly bureaucratic system that has become bogged down in red tape.

The Australian Apprenticeship Support Network will:

  • connect apprentices and employers through targeted job-matching;
  • provide advice about different course options and training delivery options;
  • deliver personalised mentoring and support to apprentices;
  • provide advice to businesses taking on apprentices, including their roles and responsibilities; manage the administration of an apprenticeship including the training contract; and
  • administer the Australian Apprenticeships Incentives Program including employer incentives and trade support loans.

Apprenticeship completion rates are currently around 50 per cent. To lift completion rates the Government is delivering the reforms and support apprentices and employers need.

The Government has already introduced new Trade Support Loans offering up to $20,000 over the life of an apprenticeship to encourage more young Australians to start their career with an apprenticeship and complete their qualification.

The new loans are spread over four years and provide greater assistance by easing the financial burden in the early years of an apprenticeship when the apprentice’s income is often lower.

The new Network will commence from 1 July 2015 and will make it much easier for employers to recruit, train and retain apprentices and trainees.

Apprentices and businesses will be able to access the Australian Apprenticeship Support Network’s services at no cost.

Media Contact: Mr Macfarlane's office 02 6277 7070