Why apprentices are the soul of our industry

The authors of a new report from the Expert Apprenticeship Panel, called ‘A Shared Responsibility: Apprenticeships for the 21 Century’, hope the findings will urge manufacturers to hire more apprentices and make steps towards improving the skills shortage crisis in Australia.

Securing apprentices for skilled jobs is an important aspect towards relieving the current skills crisis, which has seen older workers retiring from manufacturing facilities and taking their technical expertise with them. 

Apprentices will be the backbone of our industry in the coming years as more skilled labourers retire. Hiring and training them now is imperative for the longevity of Australia’s economy.

The Report, found here, “presents the opportunity for real reform of the apprenticeship system after many years of tinkering," according to Australian Industry Group (Ai Group) chief executive, Heather Ridout. 

"Such past efforts to improve the system have created a patchwork of arrangements which do not serve either the employer or employee well,” Ridout said in a statement. 

"It is a strong report with many sound recommendations but the government was sensible to quickly rule out the report’s recommendation of an employer contribution scheme – a levy by any other name.  A levy has been tried in the past and has been shown to be blunt, punitive, and in our view ineffective and would do nothing to increase apprenticeship numbers.” 

The report provides a framework through which a reformed apprenticeship system can be progressed. The Ai Group strongly supports the report, and claims it is ‘long overdue’. 

One of the most important ideas in the Report is to allow apprentices to complete their apprenticeship earlier if they have acquired the necessary skills to get along in the workforce.

"Employers have had a long and sustained commitment to the Australian apprenticeship system but remain continually frustrated by layers of duplicating administration and regulation,” Ridout said.

“Despite this, employers have been taking on apprentices in record numbers, demonstrating their commitment to both developing the skills of their workforce and the enduring value of a work-based approach to skill development. 

"The report rightly identifies many of the difficulties and inconsistencies with the current apprenticeship system. Overcoming these difficulties will require a robust and genuine commitment to reform from all states and territories, as well as a flexible and responsive training system.

"Future apprenticeship arrangements need to meet the needs of both employers and increasingly diverse individuals seeking skilled employment. Such arrangements must also meet the needs of our continually evolving economy and the subsequent range of occupations.”

Image courtesy of Piasa.com.au

Does your company employ an apprentice? Why? Comment below or on Twitter @manmonthly. 

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