Release type: Media Release


Setting apprentices up to succeed


The Hon Brendan O'Connor MP
Minister for Skills and Training

The Albanese Government is strengthening targeted support and services available to apprentices to lift completions, address critical skills shortages, and ensure that all apprentices feel valued in the workplace and encouraged to succeed.

In 2012, more than 57,000 Australians completed a trade apprenticeship, and by 2021, that number had dropped by more than 20,000.

During one of the worst skills shortages in decades, forecast to persist for at least the next five years, we are re-focussing apprenticeship support services to tackle this decline.

Job and Skills Australia data shows 38 percent of occupations experiencing skills shortages are jobs that require a vocational pathway.

Following the 2023-24 Budget, the Albanese Government will overhaul services and non-financial supports provided to apprentices to ensure focus is on support for them to finish their training and qualify in trades that give them the best possible chance to secure a well-paid job.

The improved service model will place apprentices at the centre and better support them from commencement to completion. The new services model will be based on insights gained from national consultations in recent months, with final feedback now invited on the new service model, outlined in a consultation paper released today.
The proposed new service model will:

  • Provide every apprentice with a structured assessment at commencement of their training to identify individual needs and the additional supports needed to give the apprentice the right foundation for success.
  • Make mentoring more accessible earlier and provide specialised support to improve outcomes for First Nations apprentices, apprentices with a disability, those who live remotely, women in male-dominated trades and others who experience additional barriers to completing their apprenticeship.
  • Ensure more proactive support from services over the course of the apprenticeship, with an increased focus on supporting completions. This includes the first two years, when wages are typically at their lowest and apprentices are at the highest risk of dropping out.
  • Support employers to create a positive learning environment and workplace culture that encourages apprentices to succeed, especially for employers who are under-resourced or inexperienced, and taking on an apprentice for the first time.
  • Leverage technology to streamline claims processing and program administration for employers, freeing up service providers time so they can spend more time supporting apprentices.
  • In partnership with states and territories, opportunities will be explored to improve the workplace experience for all apprentices. In partnership with states and territories, we will also explore opportunities to improve the workplace experience for all apprentices.

These changes deliver on our 2022 Jobs and Skill summit commitment to improve the Australian Apprenticeships System, strengthen support services to help apprentices complete their qualification and increase the diversity of the apprentice workforce.

While apprenticeship completion rates have been declining across all groups, they are particularly low for women, First Nations people, people with disabilities and people living in remote Australia and is why service reforms that place them at the centre are critical.

Submissions on the directions paper close on 22 May 2023. For more information and how to make a submission, visit Future Directions Paper for Australian Apprenticeship Support Services.

Quotes attributable to Minister for Skills and Training Brendan O’Connor

Apprentices and trainees are vital for our economic growth, as well as our transition to a net-zero economy, but too many are failing to complete their training.

If we get support for apprentices right, we are going to be rewarded with the next generation of highly skilled, vocationally educated Australians.

These changes will assist more Australians, including women, to complete an apprenticeship and gain secure and rewarding employment.