24/01/2019 - 13:46

Report identifies apprenticeship issues

24/01/2019 - 13:46

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The State Training Board has today released a report on issues and barriers for Western Australian apprentices and employers, urging the state government not to hold back changes because of bureaucratic processes.

Jim Walker says the state needs an apprenticeship system that can keep up with a rapidly changing industry. Photo: Attilla Csaszar

The State Training Board has today released a report on issues and barriers for Western Australian apprentices and employers, urging the state government not to hold back changes because of bureaucratic processes.

Compiled last year, the report aims to provide a better understanding of the needs of the training sector, and is primarily based on feedback received through a number of public forums and stakeholder meetings.

It found five key current issues in the sector: over-complexity of the apprenticeship system; high costs of apprentice employement; apprenticeships not being widely promoted or understood by young people and the community; businesses wanting greater flexibility from the training sector; and jobs and skills centres needing to collaborate more effectively with industry.

The report recommends more financial incentives for employers to take on apprentices, less red tape for employers, better promotion of the VET sector, and a more customer-focused and flexible system.

It is recommended that a portal website is established to provide current information relevant to stakeholders on training course availability, locations, fees, and government subsidies.

The report suggests the government trials methods to reduce the cost for employers, including reducing Tafe course fees for growth areas, introducing incentives to encourage the uptake of apprentices in new and emerging industries, and better monitoring Tafe fees into the future.

The report suggests better promotion of VET careers, particularly through social media and advertising, and encourages Tafe to introduce key metrics to assess whether they are meeting the training needs of industry.

From an internal government perspective, better coordinating of roles would alleviate confusion and duplication of tasks, the report said.

State Training Board chair Jim Walker said that, if WA was to have a skilled workforce into the future, the government must take steps to stop the decline in apprenticeship and traineeship commencements that has continued since 2012.

“If the state wants a skilled workforce into the future, we must take steps to arrest this decline and restore the apprenticeship system,” he said in the report.

“A common view across stakeholders is that the apprenticeship system is complex and difficult to navigate.

“Western Australia needs a modern apprenticeship system - incorporating both apprenticeships and traineeships - that can keep up with the rapid pace of change in the labour market.

“The state needs an apprenticeship system that is flexible, innovative and not held back by bureaucratic processes.”

The state government responded to the report by outlining a number of initiatives currently under way.

These include freezing Tafe fees until 2021, the establishment of Tafe Jobs and Skills Centres to provide advice for navigating the system, developing an employer incentive scheme, and the reintroduction of training in craft industries such as wood machining, vehicle trimming and textile fabrication.

Additionally, the recently signed federal Skilling Australians Fund National Partnership will provide WA with up to $126 million until 2021, a sum to be matched by the state government.

This is expected to create around 20,000 new pre-apprenticeships, apprenticeships and traineeships.

“Apprenticeships and traineeships are so important for the ongoing growth and success of Western Australian industry and business,” Education and Training Minister Sue Ellery said.

“We have revamped industry’s involvement in Western Australia’s training system through reinvigorating the State Training Board.

“We will be using the recommendations of this report to increase the take-up of apprenticeships and traineeships."

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