TWO reports released today by the National Centre for Vocational Education Research (NCVER) are said to show the apparent success of the Howard Government’s initiatives to address Australia’s skills and labour shortages.
In a statement released by the Minister for Vocational and Further Education, Andrew Robb, it says that the number of Australian Apprentices in training continues to increase, with 414,000 in training as at March 2007.
It also states that the Australian Government has funded a range of incentives to help address Australia’s skills shortage, and is said to invest a record $2.9 billion in skills training this year.
Some of the incentives include the $2,000 tax-free Apprenticeship Wage Top-Up, a $1,000 fee voucher, an $800 tool kit, a $13,000 wage subsidy for mid-career apprentices and up to $4,000 in incentives for employers of Australian Apprentices.
Training durations of apprentices are also reported to have come down, with more than one-quarter (28%) completing their training in two years or less, compared with 18% in 1996.
Robb said the report clearly demonstrates the continuing success of the Australian Government’s efforts to address the skills and labour shortage, with more people recognising the opportunities that a vocational and technical education can bring.
“For too long we have talked down the trades. We need to get to the stage that a trade qualification is as valued as a university degree,” he said.
The NCVER report is available at: http://www.ncver.edu.au.
For more information on Australian Apprenticeships, visit: www.australianapprenticeships.gov.au.