High youth unemployment, plummeting apprenticeships will get worse if Liberals return to power

Published: 28 Jun 2016

The plummeting of apprenticeship numbers that has occurred under the Liberal Government’s watch since 2013, are set to worsen if Malcolm Turnbull is elected according to CFMEU National Secretary, Michael O’Connor.  

Referring to new data released by the Department of Education and Training and reported in the Fairfax press today, Mr O’Connor said the crisis in skilled jobs and opportunities for young Australians, combined with the growth in overseas visa workers characterised the utter neglect of young people by the Liberal Government.  

“This crisis has been created by the Liberals. They have slashed over $1 billion from apprenticeships, abolished the Tools for Trade Program and made huge cuts to adult apprentice programs.   

“The Liberals have no policy to resolve this crisis in youth unemployment and in skilled jobs,” he said.  

“Their plan is a cheap scheme that goes nowhere for young workers who earn $4 an hour, are not trained in skills, only to be replaced by another unemployed person when their time is up.  

“Their solution for the much needed skilled workers we need for future infrastructure work is to continue bringing in unskilled visa workers within a scheme that is open to corruption and exploitation – as we saw reported yesterday.”  

Mr O’Connor said that there was now a stark contrast between Labor and Liberal on the issue of apprenticeships.   

“Labor has a plan to increase apprentice numbers through ensuing a proportion of jobs on major federally funded projects are delivered as apprenticeships.   

Labor’s scheme will commence with a target of one in ten jobs on infrastructure projects for apprentices. In addition, the Apprentice Advocate will focus on issues such as retention rates for apprentices.   

“We have an urgent need for skilled workers in Australia. In order to build our much needed infrastructure we must increase the skilled workforce by 30% over the next ten years,” Mr O’Connor said.   

“Young people are keen to enter apprenticeships that put them onto a path of skilled, well paid jobs, but if the Liberal Government is elected, the opportunities will continue to decrease.  

“The Liberals are offering a short-term $4 an hour job, in which there is no recognised training, while more workers are being brought in from overseas to do skilled work.

“The Liberals have turned their back on young people.”