Sorcery with apprentices: there may be fewer than appears

You don’t have to be an apprentice to be counted in the figures for them.

The feds set up the Skilling Australia Fund to increase apprentice numbers and “other employment-related training.” It’s funded by a levy on employers of foreign workers, plus Commonwealth payments to the states. Apart, that is, from Victoria and Queensland, which have not signed up. The levy is also said not to be raising the expected amounts.

But otherwise how’s it going? Hard to say, it seems to CMM, as revealed in Senate Estimates, (thanks to a learned reader for the pointer).

The ever-inquisitive Doug Cameron (Labor-NSW) asked about “apprentice-like activity” in the scheme, and whether including such could lift numbers towards state targets. To which a DET official replied;

“It was always envisaged in the agreement that there would be an opportunity to consider what you would say is a like activity, an opportunity for jurisdictions to come up with innovations, solutions, to the issues that they’re confronting within their jurisdiction. Of course, the core is about mainstream apprenticeships and traineeships, but we have given these jurisdictions an opportunity to come up with solutions that are outside the mainstream approaches.”

Good-o, but Senator Cameron’s point was that “apprentice-like” activity does not an apprenticeship make.  There will be hours of fun for the estimable National Centre for Vocational Education Research in working out how to account for this in the apprentice-trainee stats.


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