Parties urged to address falling apprenticeship numbers

Wednesday 21 August, 2013

The Chamber of Commerce and Industry Queensland (CCIQ) is calling on all political parties to address the dramatic drop in apprenticeship commencements seen in recent months.

It comes as the Federal Government recently announced it would cut $224 million from the Australian Apprenticeships Incentives program to ‘non-priority industries’.

CCIQ General Manager Advocacy Nick Behrens said it was time for both sides of politics to provide clarity around skills and productivity policy, particularly in relation to apprenticeships.

“Taking on staff in a training capacity comes at a cost to employers and these incentive payments were vital in promoting the apprentice system despite continuing difficult business conditions,” Mr Behrens said.

“The Government says it wants to see more Australian workers being trained in skilled jobs but has slashed two of the key incentive measures for apprenticeships in the past year.

“By deterring employers from engaging in workplace training of employees, skills shortages in Queensland are at risk of being exacerbated further.”

Mr Behrens said it was critical to fund incentive programs to ensure skills shortages were addressed and young Australians had an opportunity to enter skilled industries.

“The reduction of incentives will also affect young people and other groups that are often at a disadvantage in the labour market and rely on employers ‘giving them a go’,” Mr Behrens said.

“The Government justifies the cuts on the basis they are in ‘non-priority’ areas, but the resources boom in Queensland has put extreme pressure on competition for skilled labour across different industries and regions.

“We now have a range of sectors struggling to obtain the staff they need, which has seen falling confidence in the apprenticeship system among small and medium employers.

“Both sides of politics must commit to re-instating these payments and implementing further industry driven training outcomes for the good of the economy.

“Government should be doing everything it can to encourage employers to take on apprentices and train the workers of the future.”

ENDS

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