CFMEU welcomes Labor's plan to boost apprenticeships

Published: 8 Jun 2016

Labor’s plan to boost apprenticeships is a welcome initiative to fill skills gap

The CFMEU has welcomed Labor’s initiative to increase apprentice numbers through ensuing a proportion of jobs on major federally funded projects are delivered as apprenticeships.

National Construction Secretary Dave Noonan said that the plan which will commence with a target of one in ten jobs on infrastructure projects for apprentices, was in stark contrast to the Liberal party’s efforts to stop apprentice quotas.  

“We have an urgent need for skilled workers in Australia. In order to build our much needed infrastructure we must increase the skilled workforce by 30% over the next ten years.

“Young people are keen to enter apprenticeships that put them onto a path of skilled, well paid jobs, but if the Liberal Government is elected, the opportunities will continue to decrease.

“In addition to the $2.5 billion they have already gutted from apprenticeship programs TAFE and training programs, their commitment to bring back the ABCC will further hinder opportunities for young people by banning unions from negotiating apprenticeship quotas in enterprise agreements,” he said.

Mr Noonan said that there was now a clear choice for young people.

“The Liberal party are offering a cheap labour scheme that pays $4 an hour for a short-term job, in which there is no recognised training.

“At the same time, workers are being brought in from overseas to do skilled work.

“The Liberals have turned their back on young people.

Other measures of Labor’s plan – the Apprentice Advocate that focuses on issues such as retention rates for apprentices – was also welcomed by the union.

“We have been strong advocates for much needed initiatives to not only create opportunities for young people, but to assist them in completing their apprenticeships,” said Mr Noonan.

Mr Noonan said Labor’s plan was a much needed injection into a neglected sector.

“Mandating for apprenticeship quotas and increasing funding will deliver what everybody wants: good jobs, lower unemployment and workers with skills that are in demand.”