Time-based apprenticeships a thing of the past

AUSTRALIAN apprenticeships are receiving a shake-up thanks to an industry and government-partnered approach to meet growing demand for engineering trade skills for resources and construction projects.
Time-based apprenticeships a thing of the past Time-based apprenticeships a thing of the past Time-based apprenticeships a thing of the past Time-based apprenticeships a thing of the past Time-based apprenticeships a thing of the past

More than 3000 apprentices nationally will benefit from the rollout of the national project, Engineering Excellence in Apprenticeships, funded by the federal government and led by The Australian Industry Group.

The project is aiming to drive reform by implementing competency-based progression and completion arrangements for the engineering trades, compared to the existing time-based completion measures which have stunted the rate of skills released to the market crying out for them.

Ten registered training providers across six states will be involved in the project over a three- year period.

The apprenticeships will cover engineering trades including maintenance fitters, boilermakers, machinists, sheetmetal workers and foundry trades.

Ai Group chief executive Innes Willox said the project had the potential to reshape Australia's apprenticeship system.

"For too long there has been much talk about improving Australia's apprenticeship system but little more has been achieved than tinkering at the edges," Willox said.

"Ai Group is creating a model whereby apprentices progress through all components of their apprenticeships both on the job and off the job by demonstrating competency and proficiency along the way."

Despite years of reform in the training system, Willox said apprenticeship arrangements had continued to be bound by outdated time-based arrangements.

He said the individual progression model broke through the old approach.

"Crucially employers will have a key role in determining and confirming competency, thereby ensuring real work practices are embedded into the apprenticeship model," he said.

"This model will deliver the work ready apprentices that are fundamental to addressing Australia's growing skills deficit."

A further two projects will complement the apprenticeship model, with the first facilitating nine manufacturing apprenticeship advisers to promote and increase the uptake in key trades in the manufacturing and engineering industries.

The second project will mean new apprentices will be supported by a mentoring program focusing on development to lift overall individual completion rates.

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