Apprentice wages not keeping up with reality: ETU

Research produced by the University of Sydney Workplace Research Centre has shown that many apprentices are living below the poverty line, says the Electrical Trades Union.

The report, The Changing Situation of Electrical Apprentices: Submission to the Modern Award Review, Fair Work Australia, released at the ETU’s national apprentice conference in Sydney, shows that 26.1 per cent of those beginning a trade apprenticeship are aged 25 and over.

“In 2012, electrical apprentices are more likely to be independent adults, some with families of their own,” the report says, comparing the profile of a modern apprentice with one learning a trade in the 1950s.

The ETU’s national secretary Allen Hicks told AAP that the rate of apprenticeships being undertaken was being affected by trends highlighted in the research, produced by a team from the Workplace Centre, including Professor John Buchanan.

“Low pay rates are putting many apprentices below the poverty line, which this report has confirmed is a crucial tipping point impacting on the take up and completion on apprenticeships,” said Hicks.

 

Image: The Australian