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Government initiatives on manpower programs

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The Hon. Ian Viner, MP 78/4


The Minister for Employment and Youth Affairs, Mr Ian Viner, today announced several initiatives flowing from the first stage of a major review of the Government's, manpower programs.

New Voluntary Youth Community Service Scheme .

Mr Viner said: "The Government has approved in principle the development of a Voluntary Youth Community Service scheme. The aim of this program will be to fill a gap in existing manpower programs, by providing the opportunity for unemployed young people to involve themselves in constructive and socially worthwhile community activities and to assist them to develop work habits and

skills that will help them obtain permanent employment. .

"This voluntary community-based scheme will fulfil an important social purpose by enabling the community to help young people overcome the social harm of prolonged unemployment. The Government will be looking for participation from sponsor groups such as voluntary non-profit making agencies, service organisations, church organisations, federal and state government agencies and local government. There will be close consultation with interested community organisations, tfie National Labour Consultative Council and State Governments. Special attention will be paid to the integration of this proposed scheme with other manpower programs.

A voluntary community service scheme had been proposed to the Government by the Government Members' Committee on Youth Affairs, chaired by Mr Grant Chapman, Member for Kingston.

Manpower Programs

Mr Viner said: "Evaluation studies of both the Special Youth Employment Program and the National Employment and Training System are currently being undertaken. The Government has decided that a major review of all of its manpower programs will be undertaken immediately to assess the effectiveness of existing programs,

any changes that may be required and their relevance to the current labour market.

"This review is an iridication of the Government's concern over youth employment and its determination to act forcefully and meaningfully in this area."

Increased Expenditure on Community Youth Support Scheme

Mr Viner said that the Government had approved an increase of $3.26 million to the current allocation of $9 million for the Community Youth Support Scheme to allow new projects to be commenced. This increase in funding will'allow 35,000 young people to participate in CYSS projects throughout Australia during


National Employment and Training System

The Government has approved the introduction of a special allowance of $153 equal to four weeks 1iving-away-from-home allowance to be paid to juniors required to move to undertake NEAT training.

The upper limit for book and equipment allowance under NEAT has been increased

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from $150 pa to $220 pa, and the clothing grant for Aboriginals commencing under NEAT has been doubled from $45 to $90. '

increased Apprenticeship Support .

The Government was concerned to see that economic recovery was not hindered by shortages of skilled labour and in this regard was concerned to note a decline in the intake of apprentices in recent months. In examining the levels of rebates provided to employers under the CRAFT scheme, the Government decided to review the craft scheme in the light of the report of the Williams Committee of Inquiry into Education and Training, which is expected early in the New Year.

A working group is to be established immediately to examine the possibility of increasing the intake of apprentices in Commonwealth establishments.

The Minister for Employment and Youth Affairs will take up with State Ministers the Government's concern at the rate of apprentice wastage which causes the loss of about 25 per cent of apprentice intakes. The Minister will discuss improvement in selection and supervision of apprentices.

A working party will be established from the Departments of Employment and Youth Affairs and Education, and a representative from the TAFE Council to advise on the implications of a major extension of pre-apprenticeship and pre-vocational courses in TAFE.

The National Training Centre will be asked to provide an urgent report on:

1. the need for Commonwealth-funded skill centres as part of measures to increase "off-the-job" training;

2. ways of improving arrangements for the goup training of apprentices in industry, i.e. where young people are apprenticed to a group of employers rather than a single employer who cannot individually provide training; and

3. progress with proposals for complementary trade training arrangements to supplement apprenticeship.

Mr Viner said:· "The importance of an adequate work force of skilled tradesmen is well-recognised and therefore the Government is anxious, that in co-operation with industry, the unions and the States, every effort is made to improve the level of apprentice training and the supply of tradesmen."

Special Youth Employment Training Program (SYETP)

"Changes will be made in the administrative arrangements for the Special Youth Employment Training Program (SYETP). These will ensure that the program is directed more effectively towards those for whom it was originally designed, namely, the disadvantaged young employed person who was unable to compete on

the open labour market because;of lack of the necessary experience or employment qualifications and/or personal qualities", Mr Viner said.

It is expected that 80,000 young people will participate in the scheme this financial year.

Mr Viner said that employers will not be permitted" to take on as subsidised employees young persons who would qualify for employment without subsidy.

Canberra 13 December 1978