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Call for faster, smarter and much higher trade outcomes

21 March, 2007

"The Australian Industry Group welcomes the approach to apprenticeships outlined recently the National Press Club by the Minister for Vocational and Further Education, Andrew Robb," Ai Group Chief Executive Heather Ridout has said.

"Robb's support for higher and accelerated training for apprentices is in tune with Ai Group's own policy positions in this area which have been underpinned by rigorous research and industry consultation. Our Contemporary Apprenticeships for the Twenty First Century policy and our landmark World Class Skills for World Class Industries report showed that the current approach needs to be reformed and enhanced to provide the flexibility and responsiveness required by industry," Ridout said.

"Industry today needs a more highly skilled workforce than is being delivered through an apprenticeship system designed in another era. Industry needs apprenticeship training to be delivered faster and combined with opportunities for higher skill outcomes. This must be achieved through a genuine competency-based training system to allow individuals to aspire to higher skill levels with the support of employers.

"Ai Group has already successfully negotiated competency-based industrial arrangements, appropriate nationally recognised qualification structures and provided a vision for faster, smarter, higher level trade outcomes.

"Our view is that a broader range of employment-based training options can be drawn upon by using national qualifications and re-organising training arrangements. By doing this it will be possible to simultaneously work towards addressing both skill shortages and the demand for higher level skills.

"Ai Group is calling for a pilot to deliver 'faster, smarter, higher' trade outcomes.  The pilot will refine strategies to deliver significantly improved outcomes to industry and individuals, as well as informing training organisations and government of existing impediments and the need for further reforms," Ridout said.

These higher level qualifications could be structured in the following way:

- Trade Plus. Certificate III plus Vocational Graduate Certificate.
- Higher Trade Outcome. Certificate III (trade outcomes) plus Certificate IV post-trade qualification.
- Advanced Trade Outcome. Certificate III (trade outcomes) plus diploma level post trade outcome, Diploma of Engineering (Advanced Trade).
- Technology Cadetship. Encompassing Cert III-VI in Manufacturing Technology.
- Vocational Graduate Certificates can include training

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