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Changes Needed for Australian Government Apprentice and Trainee Incentives

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The Australian Government needs to make urgent changes to the financial incentives that support the employment of apprentices and trainees, according to the Independent Tertiary Education Council Australia (ITECA), the peak body representing independent skills training, higher education, and international education providers. 

“Recent data shows a significant decline in apprentice and trainee commencements, which is concerning, and it is anticipated that changes to the apprenticeship and trainee incentive structure that are due to kick in from 1 July 2024 will see that decline accelerate.  In that context, urgent changes are needed,” said ITECA Chief Executive, Troy Williams. 

ITECA has formally advised the Australian Government that the apprentice and trainee incentive arrangements need to encourage employers to take on an apprentice or trainee and ensure that they are supported through their training. 

“ITECA proposes the introduction of revised apprentice and trainee incentive arrangements that are designed to not only boost the commencement of apprenticeships and traineeships but also ensure an increased likelihood of completion across these programs,” said Williams. 

Additional financial support should be available to employers who commit to the full training lifecycle of apprentices and trainees according to ITECA. 

“This support should be contingent on the apprentice or trainee successfully achieving their qualification rather than just completing the time on the job,” Williams said. 

According to ITECA, to ensure the scope of successful apprentice and trainee outcomes is broadened, a proportion of the incentive should be available in cases where there is a demonstrably improved employment outcome in the relevant industry due to an apprenticeship or traineeship that is more than half-completed.  ITECA looks forward to collaborating closely with the Australian Government on this vital initiative. 

“ITECA maintains the firm view that it is crucial that apprentices and trainees remain engaged in the training system throughout the life of their qualification and that the success of all participants in the system is a shared responsibility of employers, government and the training providers,” said Williams. 

At a parliamentary and departmental level, ITECA’s advocacy is designed to develop a robust framework that meets the immediate needs of employers and the economy and supports the long-term development of Australia’s skilled workforce. 

“Ensuring that incentives to take on apprentices and trainees are aligned with industry needs is essential for sustaining economic growth and developing a workforce capable of meeting the demands of tomorrow across a range of sectors including mining, construction, transport, and healthcare,” said Williams. 

Independent Registered Training Organisations (RTOs) support 50.9% of the 365,420 apprentices and trainees across Australia, according to data from the National Centre for Vocational Education Research (NCVER). 

Related: Café serves up intergenerational fun for residents, trainees and children 

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