The Federal Government has revealed the identities of the organisations it has enlisted to cut the high number of Australians failing to complete apprenticeships.
Eleven organisations have been chosen to run a national network of 440 centres charged with lifting apprentice and trainee completion rates well above their current levels of around 50 per cent.
Last year the government responded to low completion rates by announcing it would spend $200 million a year to set up a new Australian Apprenticeship Support Network (AASN). The network will advise prospective apprentices about different course and training options, connect apprentices and employers, mentor and support apprentices, advise businesses taking on apprentices, and administer employer incentives and trade support loans.
Assistant Minister for Education and Training, Senator Simon Birmingham, said remuneration of the organisations selected in an open tender to run the network would be linked to completion rates at their centres.
“Our government is introducing a new outcomes-based arrangement that financially rewards completions, with targeted mentoring to assist apprentices or employers facing difficulty,” Senator Birmingham said.
“Employers, particularly small business owners, will receive more efficient help in navigating the apprenticeships system, while individuals will be better assisted to complete their training.
“Improving completion rates by helping those who need it most to stay on track means more Australians will get to realise the full benefits of an apprenticeship, and the rewarding careers that can come as a result,” he said.
The Federal Opposition accused the government of using the new AASN to mask a reduction in funding for apprenticeships.
Shadow Minister for Vocational Education, Sharon Bird, said the annual $200 million in funding for the AASN is less than the $210 million the government was due to spend on an existing network of Apprenticeship Centres the AASN replaces.
“On top of the funding cut, the new network is also expected to do additional tasks such as providing job matching, mentoring and support,” Ms Bird said.
“This cut comes on top of the abolition of the Tools for Your Trade Program, the Australian Apprenticeship Access Program, the Australian Apprenticeship Mentoring Program and the Apprentice to Business Owner Program – all axed by the Abbott Government in the budget last year.”
The AASN will commence on July 1.