Apprentices from around Australia convened in Sydney in late October to help the AMWU improve the quality and integrity of the apprenticeship experience.
Eleven apprentices from a diverse range of trades, ages and participated in the roundtable, and pledged to stay involved in the union’s work to improve the apprenticeship experience.
The apprentices included Cheshire Lo and Brendan Cosgrove from NSW, Harrie Standord, Nick Carlton and Tom Kerr-Chapman from Victoria, Cassie-Ann Egan and Leah Bull from Queensland, Apprentice Ambassador Angelina Oates from South Australia and Jared Mifsud and Liam Whiteroad from Tasmania.
The Roundtable enabled AMWU apprentices to speak directly to the union’s National Skills, Training and Apprenticeships Policy Committee about their thoughts and experiences, and their ideas for the future. The AMWU will use their thoughts and ideas to directly influence the decisions that the union makes about defending and improving apprenticeships.
The Roundtable provided an opportunity for apprentices to discuss their concerns about the quality of training, the increasing costs they are being asked to bear and the precarious job security that is increasingly associated with apprentices in modern times.
Key themes to emerge across all of the trades included:
- Declining quality of training and the increasing incidence of unacceptable behaviour of private training providers
- Declining rights of apprentices to proper treatment, on the job training, job security and mentoring
- Costs and financial pressures facing apprentices
- The need to defend and support TAFE
The apprentice round table also heard from AMWU National President Andrew Dettmer, AEU Federal TAFE Secretary, Pat Forward, Federal Labor Shadow Skills and Apprenticeships Minister, Doug Cameron and NSW Labor Shadow Skills Minister, Prue Car.
Following from the Roundtable, the union is looking to work with other unions on new strategies to promote unionism and union values to apprentices, and encourage them to join.