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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2017 Week 10 Hansard (Thursday, 14 September 2017) . . Page.. 3757 ..

government requirements, the regulatory hoops that need to be jumped through and ticked off to gain the formal qualification. Also, they take care of the legal employment side for the trainees, such as superannuation, workers comp insurance and making sure that their salaries are paid weekly. For the businesses that then hire these young trainees through group training organisations, it means they do not need to worry about the regulatory hoops and it allows businesses to focus on what they do best—that is, getting on with the job.

In my experience in the construction industry, it was about building the city that we live in. For a sole operator—an electrician, a plumber, a small businessperson—it gives them the opportunity to say, “I want to give back to the trade. I want to ensure that the next generation are given the skills and the opportunities that I was given as a tradesperson.” The opportunities that exist through group training provide great efficiency and are a great win-win for business and trainee alike.

I also note that there is a substantial amount of work done at the commonwealth level in supporting traineeships and apprentices, through support for the businesses that take them on. There are other avenues that exist that certainly did not exist when I did my carpentry apprenticeship and which in many ways would have made it easier—that is, the opportunity now for vocational training to qualify for a student loan scheme.

Taking on a traditional trade often requires a substantial investment in tools, in order to do your trade appropriately. The opportunity to access a very cheap finance source to deck yourself out appropriately and make sure that you have the tools that you need to do your job and to learn, and to see yourself through study and then not have to pay that back until your income hits a threshold of slightly over $55,000, is a very generous opportunity that exists now that did not exist when I went through my apprenticeship.

A lot more, though, can be done both at the commonwealth level and at the local level in supporting trainees, as well as businesses. Just last week I spoke to a hairdresser when I was getting my hair cut. They had just had a new apprentice start and she said, “This is the last time we ever do it. This is the last apprentice we’re taking on.” Of course, it twigged my interest and I asked about it. They find it very difficult as a small business taking on the responsibility of an apprentice, from day one in the workforce through the three to four years of hairdressing to get them to graduation. Their worry is that often they bring on an apprentice, they get them through their traineeship and, as soon as they are qualified, they say, “Thanks very much,” and they are off. So that return on their effort and their investment goes and they are simply poached by another business that does not give back, does not contribute and does not see the need to invest in training the next generation in their profession.

More sadly, there is also the difficulty they have had in finding good candidates to undertake training. Certainly, it has been my experience and that of a lot of my friends that went in this direction and went down the trade route that the expectation always is that you get through school, you get a year 12 score, you go to university, you get a good degree and then you get a good job. It is often frowned upon, sadly, and, for those who choose to take the vocational route, it is believed they have underachieved

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