Release type: Media Release


Apprentices Kickstart Australia’s green future


The Hon Julia Gillard MP
Minister for Education. Minister for Employment and Workplace Relations
Minister for Social Inclusion
Deputy Prime Minister

Members of Parliament and Senators today joined students, skills experts and the public to get a hands-on experience in how the traditional trades are leading the country towards a low carbon future.

Apprentices are doing work on the front line of tackling climate change and today they demonstrated the green skills transforming Australia’s workplaces.

The Minister for Education, Julia Gillard, opened the interactive Try-A-Trade event on the lawns in front of Parliament House.

Ms Gillard was joined by Members of Parliament including the Minister for Climate Change, Penny Wong, Minister Assisting the Minister for Climate Change, Greg Combet, Minister for Employment Participation, Mark Arbib, and Parliamentary Secretary for Employment, Jason Clare.

They learned basic skills in solar energy, green plumbing, organic hairdressing, sheet metal and manufacturing and were judged by experts and by apprentices themselves about how green skills are reshaping trades training across the country. From 1 January 2010, the Rudd Government has mandated that Australian Apprentices training programs will include mandatory green skills as part of their training.

New jobs and skills will be required to tackle climate change and Australia’s apprentices are embracing the skills needed for a greener economy.

The Government is taking a National Green Skills Agreement to the COAG meeting next month that will:

  • set national standards of green practice and teaching in vocational education and training
  • update existing training for apprentices to include green skills
  • assist VET instructors and teachers to learn new green skills to pass on to students
  • develop a program to assist vulnerable workers to develop new green skills.

The Government announced in July 50 000 new green jobs and training opportunities to build a stronger and greener Australian economy.

This $94 million investment in Australia’s future and major reform of Australia’s training system will help support jobs and communities being hit by the local consequence of a severe global recession.

The Australian Government is providing funding of $5 billion over four years to support Australian Apprenticeships and related programs, and has invested an additional $250 million to support apprentices during the global recession.

These initiatives will support young Australians entering traditional trades this summer to ensure Australia continues to recruit and train apprentices in traditional trades and meet the potential skills shortage head on.

Apprentice Kickstart, announced last month, will more than triple the first-year incentive paid to employers who this summer take on apprentices in traditional trades experiencing skill shortages.

The package will be available to employers who take on an eligible traditional trades apprentice aged 19 years and under between 1 December 2009 and 28 February 2010, or until a total of 21 000 apprentices have commenced in traditional trades hardest hit by skills shortages.

The list includes trades like butchers, bakers, bricklayers, carpenters, plumbers, welders and pastry cooks. About 425 000 Australians are already in Australian apprenticeships covering more than 500 occupations.

For more information on the Apprentice Kickstart package, visit