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Celebrating a golden number - Australia's 400,000th new apprentice.

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Media Release


11 December, 2003 MIN 560/03

Today marks a milestone in training and career opportunities for young Australians. A record 407,900 New Apprentices in training will be celebrated with the presentation in Brisbane today of a gold plated spanner to a first year New Apprentice.

Matthew Glen, a New Apprentice in Automotive Mechanics, employed by Strathpine Toyota in the Brisbane suburb of Brendale, was one of those who made up the latest cohort of Australians undertaking a New Apprenticeship - pushing the numbers above 400,000 for the first time.

The latest figures show that there are a record number of Australians who, like Matthew, are discovering that New Apprenticeships offer the best type of flexible, competency-based training to help them realise career goals and aspirations.

Today, apprenticeships and traineeships are available in over 500 different occupations. New Apprenticeships offer businesses a great way to increase their competitiveness while increasing the skill levels of their workforce. The Howard Government assists businesses to build the skills of their workforce by providing targeted incentives which reward employers for providing opportunities for school based and mature aged New Apprentices.

In addition, the Howard Government has prioritised incentives to employers who open up New Apprenticeships opportunities in higher-skill qualifications such as traditional trades, and in skill shortage trades in rural and regional areas.

The Howard Government is committed to supporting and promoting opportunities for all Australians to achieve their full potential. This is particularly important for the 70% of young Australians who do not go directly from school to university.

Figures released this week show a further increase in the number of New Apprentices-in-training of 10% in 12 months. In total, this constitutes an increase of 190% since 1995 when apprenticeships had reached a rock bottom of 135,000. Under Labor desperate parents were offering to pay employers to give their child an apprenticeship!

Completions leapt by 15%, with 126,400 New Apprentices completing their training in the 12 months to September 2003.

Twenty eight percent of all New Apprentices are aged under 19 and a further 26% are aged between 20 and 24. Increasingly, mature aged Australians are using the New Apprenticeships pathway to build new skills in the workplace or move into new careers. Today, 32% of all New Apprentices are aged 25-44 and 13% are over 45 years old.

DEST Graph based on NCVER data, June 2003 and September 2003 estimates

For more information on New Apprenticeships; visit

Picture/ News editors please note:

Dr Nelson will present the golden spanner to apprentice Matthew Glen today, Thursday, December 11.

WHERE: Strathpine Toyota, 32 Terrance Road, Brendale BRISBANE WHEN: 10:15am (Australian Eastern Standard Time)

Media Contact: Dr Nelson’s Office: Ross Hampton 0419 484 095 Dept of Education, Science & Training: Mark Giffard 0412 420 987