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Work needed to boost apprenticeship numbers: ACCI

18 August, 2016

Words are not enough: report highlights vital role apprenticeships play in the modern economy.

A report underlining the vital role of apprenticeships in developing skills for a modern economy is a timely reminder to policymakers that they need to take a hands-on approach to improve the business case for employers taking on apprentices, the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry said 9 August 2016.

The report, prepared by the Apprenticeships Reform Advisory Group and released by the Assistant Minister for Vocational Education and Skills, Karen Andrews, on Monday, makes 22 recommendations for reform of Australia’s apprenticeships system.

James Pearson, CEO of the Australian Chamber, said:  "For many years the business community has been sounding the alarm about the state of apprenticeships. Four years ago there were 516,000 people undertaking apprenticeships and traineeships, but that number has fallen to just 295,000.

"Successive state and federal governments have failed to help businesses to reverse this decline.

"This latest report reminds policy makers and the community that a strong apprenticeships and traineeships system ensures our workforce has the skills it need for the jobs of the future.

"The report outlines the successful combination of work experience and structured training in preparing workers for their chosen career, highlights the effectiveness of purpose-built industrial arrangements and notes that apprenticeships have enjoyed longstanding support from industry. 

"Apprenticeships provide an important option for young people when they first enter the workforce, giving them lifelong skills and delivering good outcomes for employers. For some occupations, apprenticeships are the only pathway to a licensed trade. 

"The Australian Chamber campaigned on this issue during the federal election. Reversing the steep decline in apprenticeship numbers is one of the Australian Chamber’s 10 steps to improve Australia’s competitiveness

"The Australian Chamber, representing  over 300,000 businesses employing four million people, knows  that falling apprenticeship and trainee numbers need more urgent action than simply another review.

"We urge a more hands-on approach, with government and stakeholders working with industries on solutions that will make a difference to employers and job seekers in each industry. 

"Policy makers need to commit to the long-term future of young people by improving the business case for employers. Words are not enough."

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