The Chamber of Commerce and Industry of WA (CCI) has echoed the call from Australia’s peak business associations for governments to take urgent action to fix the ailing apprenticeship system.
Business groups have banded together to insist the federal and state governments act to avert an apprenticeships crisis.
The groups want the government to commit to a new national partnership agreement worth $1.75 billion over five years.
At peak levels in 2012, there were more than 45,000 Western Australians in training.
This dropped by more than 20 per cent to just over 36,000 by September last year.
The number commencing apprenticeships and traineeships in WA this year will be half the rate that was seen in 2012 – down from 34,000 to an estimated 19,000 this financial year, CCI predicts.
Business groups including CCI want a new full national partnership agreement to be negotiated, for national focus to be put on lifting apprenticeship and traineeship numbers and for duplication between government levels to be reduced.
CCI recommends the new WA Labor Government negotiate with the Commonwealth to ensure continuity in funding allocations in the next national partnership agreement.
CCI chief executive Deidre Willmott says the expiry of the current agreement could see Commonwealth training funding to WA decrease by over $50 million per year.
“WA’s new Labor Government will need the new national partnership agreement formalised sooner rather than later, so that they can correctly assess how much federal funding WA has to support businesses to train apprentices and trainees and budget the government’s own VET sector investment accordingly,” she says.
“It’s crucial that WA is adequately prepared for when the economy recovers.
“For WA’s key sectors including agribusiness, construction, defence, manufacturing, international education, energy, resources and tourism to be able to thrive, we must have a skilled and capable workforce to meet the demands of business and investment.
“WA business needs adequate support to be able to provide opportunities for people of all ages, to engage in the workforce and acquire the skills industry needs to address the economic challenges of our state.”
►For more information on apprenticeship and traineeship packages, skills in demand and employer incentive eligibility, go to www.apprenticeshipsupport.com.au or call 1300 363 831