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Backgrounder: An Apprenticeship Model for the modern economy

Apprenticeships and traineeships are a central component in how Australia develops and maintains a skilled workforce and part of the skills equation that is key to our COVID economic recovery.

This Ai Group paper considers the questions: if apprenticeships are truly valued, how can they be made more attractive to young people? How can more companies be encouraged to offer opportunities, especially during a recession? And if apprenticeships will not meet Australia's skills needs, how else can they be met?

Apprenticeships and traineeships create the tradespeople, care workers, IT support workers and technicians that form the basis of a developed economy but they are not perfect.

They rely on the strength of the economy and the goodwill of employers to create opportunities. They struggle to attract candidates because of perceptions that university qualifications are more desirable. Their quality can vary according to individual employers and training providers, and they are too concentrated at Certificate III levels.

The apprenticeship and traineeship model can become better suited to the modern labour market with some enhancements – to ease the financial burden on employers; to improve their attractiveness to young people; to help employers and training providers provide better experiences; and to open up their availability to higher level skills. They can become an important vehicle for providing opportunities for young people to enter or re-join the labour market, and for helping employers re-establish their workforce as the economy recovers from the pandemic.

In a period where skilled migration is likely to be curtailed for some time, a skilled workforce in place to assist future growth will help the Australian economy recover from this enforced recession.

Ai Group's Background Paper on Apprenticeships for a Modern Economy is available at this link. Ai Group collaborated with the National Australian Apprenticeship Association (NAAA) in the development of this paper.

Further information: Megan Lilly – 0418 102 119