Good morning everyone.
It’s great to be back in my home city after a couple of weeks on the road and it’s great to come here and talk about something that is so positive.
I might also add it is great to talk about something other than VET FEE-HELP, as I’ve done over the past few weeks and which I’m sure we can have a conversation about that later on.
I find that when I go around the country and talk to apprentices, that there is a lot of pride in skills and abilities, and dedication to their trade.
I was up in Cairns yesterday and spoke to apprentices at various sites and did actually see the VTEC (Vocational, Education and Training Centres) program in operation in Cairns.
But, many young people often face the daunting challenge of deciding not only what career they want, but finding the right path to get there.
From the employers perspective, we often hear concerns that young people don’t have necessary work-readiness skills when they embark on an apprenticeship, and not appropriate expectations, and this can lead to failed completions and frustrations in the workplace.
Pre-apprenticeships are an invaluable tool for preparing individuals to enter and succeed in an apprenticeship.
There is currently no set formula on how a pre-apprenticeship program should be designed or implemented. It is for this reason the Apprenticeship Employment Network’s Multi industry School Based and Pre-Apprenticeship Support Pilot Project gives us an excellent test case to examine a specific delivery model.
The pilot provides an opportunity for individuals to try a number of vocational occupations and also for an employer to find the best possible fit for their business when looking to recruit an apprentice.
The benefit of this approach is that it enables people to make a more informed choice of apprenticeship, which should assist in improved completion rates, career outcomes and, in essence, job satisfaction, which we know, in essence, is very important in the workplace.
On a small scale, the project has the potential to increase the pool of work-ready candidates for apprenticeships. This in turn makes it easier for industry to recruit apprentices that are more likely to both complete and thrive in their apprenticeships. The example that this project can serve could then lead to other, scalable models.
Perhaps the greatest benefit of the project lies in the lessons it can provide for the future direction of apprenticeships in Australia.
We hear a lot about the changing world of work. We know that students’ expectations have changed, demands on employers have changed. We know that other parts of the world are moving towards different apprenticeship models. We need to learn and apply what is good about the models we have, and how they need to change to meet the changing needs of business and employers and the changing expectations of participants and students.
It gives me immense pleasure to officially announce this pilot programme open for business and I very much look forward to hearing this programme works and the lessons that can be applied for both Commonwealth and state governments, and how we manage, regulate and support the growth of apprenticeships and trades in Australia.
Congratulations to all those who are involved.