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Federal budget gives a much needed lift to apprentices and trainees

10-May-2017

The outlook for apprentices and trainees is brighter following last night’s federal budget which has unveiled new measures to address falling apprentice commencements and high drop-out rates, according to the National Apprentice Employment Network (NAEN).
 
The National Executive Officer of NAEN Ms Lauren Tiltman said the budget provided a significant boost to the sector through a new national skills fund and a dedicated mentoring program.
 
The $1.5 billion Skilling Australians Fund aims to create 300,000 new apprenticeships over four years in areas of high demand including tourism, hospitality, health and ageing, engineering, manufacturing, building and construction, agriculture, and digital technologies.
 
The $60 million Industry Specialist Mentoring Program will provide support some 47,000 apprentices with a focus on those in regional areas and from industries experiencing structural change.
 
“This is a welcome focus on areas of genuine economic and social need with real potential to rebuild apprentice and trainee numbers which have been in decline,” Ms Tiltman said.
 
“The group training network around Australia applauds the effort to both create new opportunities and support those in training to progress to completion,” Ms Tiltman said.
 
Ms Tiltman said while the national partnership agreement on skills between the Commonwealth and the states and territories had not been renewed, the new skills fund had the potential for better training outcomes and improved accountability.
 
“The group training network stands ready to play its part in increasing participation in priority skills areas, and meeting the needs of those facing structural change and in regional areas,” Ms Tiltman said.
 
Ms Tiltman also welcomed the government’s focus on utilising the skills fund to assist ex-defence personnel who are transitioning to civilian life.
 
“The recent ADF skills forum in Canberra, jointly hosted by NAEN, identified key areas where the training system could better support those leaving defence to use the knowledge and expertise they had gained in the military.
 
“I am delighted that the government has recognised this gap and acted decisively to help improve training and employment for these veterans.”
 
Ms Tiltman said the model of group training, created in Australia over 30 years ago, was ideally placed to work with governments to grow apprenticeships and traineeships.
 
“With some 25,000 apprentices and trainees in work around Australia, around 100 group training organisations and scores of field officers, there is a shared commitment to delivering the skills Australia most needs,” Ms Tiltman said.  
 
 
Media Contact: Bob Bowden, Foresight Communications 0412 753 298  bbowden@bowmac.com.au 
 
The National Apprentice Employment Network is the national peak body representing the network of over 100 Group Training Organisations (GTOs) employing apprentices and trainees throughout Australia. www.naen.com.au