Page 2151 - Week 06 - Thursday, 7 June 2018

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Thursday, 7 June 2018

MADAM SPEAKER (Ms J Burch) took the chair at 10 am, made a formal recognition that the Assembly was meeting on the lands of the traditional custodians, and asked members to stand in silence and pray or reflect on their responsibilities to the people of the Australian Capital Territory.

Apprenticeships and traineeships

Ministerial statement

MS FITZHARRIS (Yerrabi—Minister for Health and Wellbeing, Minister for Transport and City Services and Minister for Higher Education, Training and Research) (10.01): I rise today to provide an update on the government’s commitment to increasing and supporting apprenticeships and traineeships in the ACT.

The government is focused on ensuring the ACT has an innovative, high performing and safe vocational education and training sector that supports all Canberrans to realise their potential. We are committed to increasing the skilling opportunities available to individuals, supporting our training providers, and delivering skills to the ACT economy to meet industry needs and support regional growth.

The Australian apprenticeships system, which includes apprenticeships and traineeships, provides the opportunity for people to be employed while they train, and develop their competence in the workplace as they learn from employers with industry expertise. This outstanding pathway allows people to gain the skills and knowledge needed to start, or restart, a career, all the while providing the workforce needs of industry.

When people think about apprentices, they tend to think of the traditional trades: plumbers, carpenters and electricians. While training people in these areas always remains a high priority, it is important to remember that Australian apprenticeships are available in hundreds of qualifications. This ranges from certificate II up to advanced diploma, in industries as diverse as health, community services, business, horticulture and ICT, as well as all of the traditional trades.

Since 2015, I am proud to say, the ACT has recorded the largest proportional increase in Australian apprenticeship commencements in Australia, with commencements 47 per cent higher in 2017 than in 2015. This has been against a backdrop of declining commencements across Australia and a transitioning economy that demands an increasingly skilled and agile labour force. Nationally, there has been a steady decline in apprenticeship commencements since 2012, when the commonwealth government withdrew a range of employer incentives for existing workers. This included a 49 per cent decline in commencements from 2012 to 2016.

There have been a number of factors behind the success of the ACT government in supporting apprenticeship and traineeship numbers. We have sought to understand the motivations and the barriers that influence people in taking the first steps and provide

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