Future-proofing the South Australian apprenticeship and traineeship system

On 7 August 2018 an engagement session with the Training and Skills Commission to sought input into how the availability and delivery of Apprenticeships and Traineeships in South Australia can be improved.

Watch the video below recorded just prior to the session then read the recommendations below.


The Skilling Australians Fund target represents a step back up to numbers of apprentices and trainees from 2012 and it is a challenging target. Eighteen recommendations may go some way to reverse the declining trend of commencements and completions:

  1. Attractiveness of the job role – employers need to consider paying higher level wages and ways to help reduce living expenses for apprentices and trainees. For example, the Victorian Government provides a subsidy for car registration in Victoria.
  2. Australian Apprenticeship Ambassadors and VET Alumni – could be utilised more at a state level, as well as employers committed to employing Australian Apprentices, with a positive peer to peer influence.
  3. Bust myths – you are not on the shovel all day or only sweeping up but this is also about job role design, how tasks are put together that match natural strengths and areas of interest.
  4. Demand forecasts and economic modelling – this should be based up job roles not qualifications. It is a wrong assumption that a qualification equals a job role so the current forecasts are fundamentally flawed.
  5. Diversity – specific workforce development strategies to support more females, mature aged people and those from Culturally and Linguistically Diverse backgrounds into Australian Apprenticeships.
  6. Employer registration process – make this process self-assessment and risk based or get rid of the process altogether as it could be a red tape barrier.
  7. Female founders and innovators – enable growth for female founded or led businesses, particularly expanding locally, nationally and internationally, scaling up operations to create more Australian Apprenticeship job opportunities
  8. Growth in part time and school based apprenticeships – make is easier to take on part time Australian Apprentices and SBAs with a simpler process, more options available across industry sectors, and more flexibility in relation to Contact of Training timeframes.
  9. Incentives – review and reconsider the timing of payments, amounts, support for other costs such as tools, uniforms, living allowances, and retention benefits not only for the employer.
  10. Learn from international leaders – USA with their new American National Workforce Development Strategy, the European Commission and Germany in particular who are currently reviewing their VET system including apprenticeships.
  11. New Australian Apprenticeship areas/trades – developed based upon current and future jobs in area such as Smart Cities/Farming/Regions, Precision Horticulture, Next Generation Trades and New Discovery Technologies.
  12. Recognition of employers – promotion and peer to peer sharing of those who have supported the Australian Apprenticeship system and continue to take on apprentices/trainees.
  13. Regional workforce plans – based upon identifying critical job roles, critical capabilities, workforce issues and gaps from now out over the next 3-5 years would provide a strong evidence base and confidence for new Australian Apprenticeship commencements.
  14. Resources on the ground – for door knocking, assistance to design the job role and develop competency based job description, tailor training plans and work through with all parties and stakeholders.
  15. Seek innovative proposals for pre-apprenticeship programs – demonstrating clear productivity gains and the return on the investment when employing an Australian apprentice.
  16. SME engagement – to take on full time, part time or Schools Based Apprenticeships where employers show other employers how to do it well.
  17. Training provision (beyond TAFESA) – with flexible providers that co-design training plans, customise and support on and off the job delivery, allowing for employers to contribute to assessment tasks that meets units of competency and qualification requirements.
  18. Vocations on the list – based upon demand, job role requirements, labour and skills shortages.

Like David Pisoni MP the South Australian Minister for Industry and Skills, these recommendations are from the perspective of starting your career as trainee, training trainees and apprentices, as well as employing Australian Apprentices, and working with employers and industry sectors on a day to day basis solving problems related to labour and skills shortages.

Also read:The Skilling Australians Fund and impossible Australian Apprenticeships targets?

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