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Government to review apprenticeships incentive system

Skills and Training Minister Brendan O'Connor urges urgent action as almost half of apprentices fail to complete training.

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Almost half of all apprentices don’t complete their training.
Written submissions for the review will be accepted until May 15.
An incentive regime is important for supporting employers to take on apprentices.

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On Monday, the government declared a strategic examination of the Australian Apprenticeships Incentive System due to concerning low completion rates among apprentices.

Skills and Training Minister Brendan O’Connor emphasised the urgency, stating, “We know that almost half of all apprentices don’t complete their training,” underlining the significance of addressing this issue for individuals, employers, and the national economy.

The Australian Apprenticeships Incentive System offers financial subsidies to employers in priority occupations who take on apprentices. In this review, the government aims to assess the effectiveness of the system and its accompanying services in facilitating the uptake and successful completion of apprenticeships and traineeships.

Additionally, the review will scrutinise whether the current system fosters an inclusive training environment, particularly for women, First Nations people, individuals with disabilities, and those in regional or remote areas.

Key objectives of the review include evaluating the impact of cost-of-living pressures on apprentices and trainees

Key objectives of the review include evaluating the impact of cost-of-living pressures on apprentices and trainees, determining how the system can best support high-quality apprenticeships and traineeships, and aligning the Incentive System with broader economic objectives outlined in the 2023 Employment White Paper.

The government has appointed the Honourable Justice Iain Ross AO and Ms. Lisa Paul AO to lead the review, acknowledging their expertise and ensuring a thorough assessment.

Written submissions for the review will be accepted until May 15, with plans for a national program of online and face-to-face consultations in the near future.

The announcement of the review has been positively received by the national employer association, Ai Group. Chief Executive Innes Willox welcomed the initiative, highlighting the importance of the incentive regime in supporting employers to take on apprentices and facilitating completion of their contracts.

Willox emphasised that well-targeted financial incentives can alleviate the costs associated with supervising and training apprentices, ultimately improving completion rates. He underscored the significance of incentives in encouraging apprentices to fulfill their training contracts, thereby addressing persistently low completion rates.

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