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Significant lift in apprentice intake



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NEWS RELEA. ,I Federal Minister forParliament House Canberra A C T 2600 Telephone: (062) 73 2 1 3 6 I Employment and Industrial RelationsTelex: 6 2 2 8 6 I Ralph Willis MREMBARGOED until 6pm EMBARGOED EMBARGOED EMBARGOED4 July 1984 157/84SIGNIFICANT LIFT IN APPRENTICE INTAKEThere has been a significant lift in the number of new apprentices in Australia following the introduction of Federal Government measures to stimulate the apprenticeship intake.The Federal Minister for Employment and Industrial Relations,Mr Ralph Willis, said today that April’s apprentice intake was nearly 40 per cent higher than for the same month last year.Speaking at the presentation of awards at the Newport College of TAFE in Melbourne, Mr Willis said the upsurge followed the introduction on 1 March of a $19 million Federal Government package to encourage employers to take on more apprentices.He said that the upward trend had been maintained in May, and than the year's intake would exceed 40,000 - 18 per cent higher than last year's.The package was among steps taken by the Federal Government to reverse the serious decline in the apprenticeship intake during which numbers fell from around 50,000 in 1981-82 to 34,000 in 1982-83.Mr Willis said approval of an additional $5 million in Federal Government assistance in the last financial year had resulted in the number of unemployed apprentices falling from 4567 on 31 May last year to 3887 on 31 March this year.247-100 Mar 84. . ./2

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The creation of an additional 2500 trade-based pre-employment

training places in TAFS colleges had resulted in some 10,500

young people beginning trade training courses this year.

Mr Willis said the apprenticeship scheme had served Australia

well, and would continue to do so.

"It provided jobs for a higher proportion of employed young

people in 1983 than it did in 1980," he said.

The fall in apprentice intakes reflected the serious problems

confronted by the youth labour market as a whole.

"While it was fashionable to criticise apprenticeship training,

many more young people sought apprenticeships each year than there

were job openings," said Mr Willis.

"It is clear that young people are strongly attracted to apprentice . ships.

"Perhaps this is because it enables the learning of practical

skills to be combined with obtaining work experience , or because a trade skill provides the foundations for so many other careers."

Mr Willis said the expansion of pre-apprenticeship and pre-vocational

courses over recent years had equiped young people with basic trade skills prior to their entering an apprenticeship.

This had gone some way towards answering a major employer criticism

that apprentices are too costly, particularly in the early stages

of training when they are least productive.

"I think it is clear that in designing programs for the future we

will need to look at models of training which combine in an attractive way, work experience and formal learning," Mr Willis said.

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"I am looking to the Kirby inquiry into the Government's labour

market programs to provide a blueprint which will ensure that our programs to support employment and training of young people are effective and relevant to the needs of the 1990s."

Mr Willis reminded employers that claim forms for assistance under

the $19 million apprenticeship promotion scheme - known as the

CRAFT package - were now available at Commonwealth Employment Service offices throughout Australia. .

Eligible employers should submit them as soon as possible.

CANBERRA

Media Contact: DEIR, Public Relations (Canberra)

(Ernie Davitt) 062 - 43 7481 062 95 0056 after hours