The Australian Apprenticeships and Traineeships Information Service (AATIS) welcomes a focus on skills and industrial relations as a way to revitalise the Australian Apprenticeships system, as announced by Prime Minister Scott Morrison at an address to the National Press Club this week.
During the address, the PM discussed two key areas of concern for Australian economic success in the next three to five years. Skills and industrial relations are key components of a well-functioning economy, and both are core to Australian Apprenticeships.
While skills and Vocational Education and Training (VET) qualifications are often considered one of the defining features of apprenticeships and traineeships, they also sit within the industrial relations framework due to the core employment aspect.
There has been significant background work completed to base any VET system changes on, including the Joyce Review, the AQF review, and the Government’s co-design consultations for which ‘What we heard’ papers have now been released.
“These reviews and consultations should underpin any significant changes to the sector to ensure that any new system does indeed meet the needs of those engaged with it,” AATIS Director Dr Peta Skujins Said.
“Industrial relations changes could potentially have just as significant impact on the Australian Apprenticeships sector as any skills changes,” she said.
The PM also noted that there is significant complexity in the IR system which employers may find challenging, however he acknowledged it is also vital that everyone does the right thing.
“Proposed changes such as awards simplification, and a focus on appropriate compliance and enforcement, should be used to support the Australian Apprenticeships system,” Dr Skujins said.
While the Prime Minister discussed the complexity of the skills system as “bewildering and overwhelming” for prospective students, similar could be said about the awards and IR system for employers. The Prime Minister makes the point that he “...want(s) those trade and skills jobs to be aspired to, not looked down upon or seen as a second-best option, it is a first best option.”
“Changes in these areas, with input from all parties, will go a long way to achieving this and we are excited to work with Industry to support these developments,” Dr Skujins said.