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There is no apprenticeships ‘crisis’ in Australia

Peter Noonan and Sarah Pilcher write in The Conversation (1.9.17) about their Mitchell Institute research, which claims that the so-called ‘apprenticeships crisis’ has united both sides of politics, employers and trade unions, but wrongly conflates apprenticeships and traineeships to skew the picture.

‘It’s rare to find an issue that unites both sides of politics, employers and trade unions, yet these unlikely allies have all claimed there is an apprenticeships “crisis”.

‘In 2016, Labor leader Bill Shorten said that the number of Australians training for apprenticeships was at its lowest level since 2001, blaming Coalition funding cuts for plummeting numbers.

‘This year, the assistant minister for vocational education and skills, Karen Andrews, explained the Coalition government’s new Skilling Australians Fund would restore “alarming” apprenticeship numbers to 2012 levels. She said: “Labor’s withdrawal of employer incentives contributed to a massive decline.”

‘The Australian Council of Trade Unions claims apprenticeship numbers have experienced a “catastrophic drop” under the Abbott/Turnbull government. The Business Council of Australia, Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, and the Australian Industry Group also claim that apprenticeships have declined by 45% since 2012.

‘A new report from the Mitchell Institute exposes some of the misconceptions behind these claims, finding some truth and a more purposeful way forward in the apprenticeships debate.’

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