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Senate report backs the government on skills training.

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Media Release


7 November, 2003 MIN 518/03

The Senate Committee’s report on Current and Future Skills Needs has backed the Howard Government’s view that more needs to be done for 70% of young people who don’t go directly from school to university.

The Report stands in strong contrast to the Labor Spokesperson on Education’s near silence on all matters relating to training. When addressing the ACTU Congress on 27 August 2003, Ms Macklin mentioned the word “university” twenty-five times. It’s extraordinary that at a Trades Congress, the word training was only mentioned twice, and the word apprenticeship - not at all.

The Senate Report provided strong support for the Howard Government’s approach to skills training in Australia, expressing high praise for the Government’s National Industry Skills Initiative, under which we have worked in partnership with eleven industries facing critical skills shortages to build skills for the future.

The Report also compliments a number of innovative school based vocational education and training projects currently underway around Australia.

School based New Apprenticeships were introduced by the Howard Government in 1998. From the start of this year, we have provided additional employers’ incentives of $1650 for each school based New Apprenticeship where the employer keeps the student on, after completion of Year 12.

Currently more than 14,000 school students are undertaking part-time school based New Apprenticeships - contributing to yesterday’s youth unemployment figures, which found that an additional 6,300 teenagers had found full-time work and teenage unemployment had decreased by a further 1.9%. This is a far cry from the rates of 30% - 50% teenage unemployment under Labor when in 1992 over 128,000 young Australians were looking for work.

The Report also called for further funding for training. On 21 November 2003, I will be meeting with my State and Territory colleagues to discuss the Australian Government’s offer of over $3.6 billion for training over the next three years. This offer constitutes an increase of $220 million over 2003 funding levels. This amounts to a 2.5% real increase over the period of the next Australian National Training Authority Agreement.

Media Contact: Dr Nelson’s Office: Ross Hampton 0419 484 095

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