The Australian Manufacturing Workers’ Union (AMWU) has called on the Prime Minister to match Bill Shorten’s pledge to boost apprenticeships on Government infrastructure projects .
“The training system for Australia’s young workers has been in decline for some time and as a result our young people have found it increasingly difficult to gain apprenticeships,” said AMWU National Secretary Paul Bastian.
“The AMWU has been pushing for a better deal for young people when it comes to apprenticeships and this policy is a major step forward,” Mr Bastian said.
A key element in Labor’s plan will require one in ten jobs on Federally-funded infrastructure projects to be filled by apprentices.
This will create 2,600 new apprentice positions for young people to give them a real chance to enter the workforce and the skills they need to lay the groundwork for well-paying careers.
“These young people will become the next generation of skilled workers. They will be the boilermakers and welders building the next generation of naval ships, they will be the technicians designing and constructing renewable energy technology projects and the motor mechanics, printers and food production workers of the future,” Mr Bastian said.
The AMWU has also welcomed Labor’s commitment to work with the States and industry to make sure more apprenticeships are made available on infrastructure, construction and defence projects.
Mr Bastian said the Coalition had gutted the training and apprenticeship system by slashing $2.5 billion in funding and opening the door to shonky private education providers to take over parts of the VET system at the expense of TAFE.
The AMWU has long advocated of giving apprentices a better deal and the ALP has recognised this need by promising to establish a dedicated Apprentice Advocate to help lift the quality of training and the retention and completion rates of apprentices.
“The numbers of young Australians undertaking trade training has fallen sharply under the Abbott/Turnbull Government and our young people, the workers of the future, deserve a fair go and the opportunity to gain valuable skills that will set them up for life.”
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