Thursday, 30 June 2016

Australian Federal Election 2016: 666 apprenticeships gone under Nationals in Page

Labor Candidate for Page Janelle Saffin, media release, 30 June 2016:

666 Apprenticeships gone in Page under the Nationals

New figures released by the Department of Education show that apprenticeship numbers in Page have fallen by 31.5 per cent in two years, with a loss of 666 apprenticeships in the Page electorate.

Janelle Saffin, Federal Labor Candidate for Page said disappointingly Mr Hogan and the rest of the Nationals have allowed this to happen, with these figures replicated across Australia, with 130,000 apprenticeships gone nationally.

The number of apprenticeships in Page dropped from 2,117 at 31 December 2013, to just 1,451 at 31 December 2015.

“The retreat from supporting apprentices and the vocational education and training sector started with Mr Abbott and Mr Truss, and it continues with Mr Turnbull and Mr Joyce,” Ms Saffin said.

“I am serious about investing in apprentices, skills and training in Page.

“The Nationals have cut $2.75 billion from the skills portfolio, including $1 billion in cuts to apprentices by scrapping the Tools for Your Trade program and access and mentoring programs.

“How can they talk ‘jobs and growth’ and then decimate apprenticeships and the VET sector?

“It’s vital that we train and retrain our workforce to improve participation, productivity, and innovation. This is what will drive growth in our region.

“Kevin Hogan and the Nationals have been missing in action on apprenticeships and jobs.”

Ms Saffin said Labor had a comprehensive set of policies to help apprentices, skills and training, including among other policy measures:

• A TAFE Funding Guarantee.

• $8,000 cap on VET FEE-HELP loans per year and a VET sector ombudsman.

• A sector-wide national review to ensure vocational education is able to meet the
training needs of the nation.

• Establishing Commonwealth Institutes of Higher Education to deliver new technical
and education opportunities to areas where access remains difficult and participation is too low.

• Boosting apprenticeships across the country by:

- creating new apprenticeship opportunities through setting a quota of
apprentices on major federally-funded projects.
- reintroducing the Tools for Your Trade program at $3,000 per apprentice to
support them from commencement to completion.
- restoring support for Group Training organisations.
- creating pathways into apprenticeships for 10,000 young people unemployed
people through the Apprentice Ready program.
- piloting a National Skills Recognition Entitlement program with 5,000 places to
help mature-aged, retrenched workers turn their extensive work experience into
formal qualifications.
- connecting potential apprentices with jobs and training through an
Apprenticeships Connect search portal.
- appointing a dedicated Apprentice Advocate.

“Only a Shorten Labor Government will deliver the support for apprentices and TAFE that local residents expect and a vocational education system that delivers a skilled workforce for the future,” Ms Saffin said.

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