The number of apprenticeships in the Page electorate has fallen by 31.5 per cent in two years, according to Federal Department of Education figures.
Federal Labor candidate for Page Janelle Saffin said the drop in numbers equated to 666 apprenticeships, with the figures replicated across Australia.
Ms Saffin said the Deparment’s figures showed that 130,000 apprenticeships had been lost across the country as a result of the Coalition government’s policies.
The number of apprenticeships in Page dropped from 2,117 at 31 December 2013, to just 1,451 by 31 December 2015.
‘The retreat from supporting apprentices and the vocational education and training sector started with Mr Abbott and Mr Truss, and it continues with Mr Turnbull and Mr Joyce,” Ms Saffin said.
‘I am serious about investing in apprentices, skills and training in Page.
“The Nationals have cut $2.75 billion from the skills portfolio, including $1 billion in cuts to apprentices by scrapping the Tools for Your Trade program and access and mentoring programs.
‘How can they talk ‘jobs and growth’ and then decimate apprenticeships and the VET sector?
‘It’s vital that we train and retrain our workforce to improve participation, productivity, and innovation. This is what will drive growth in our region.
‘Kevin Hogan and the Nationals have been missing in action on apprenticeships and jobs.”
Ms Saffin said Labor had a comprehensive set of policies to help apprentices, skills and training, including among other policy measures.
‘Only a Shorten Labor Government will deliver the support for apprentices and TAFE that local residents expect and a vocational education system that delivers a skilled workforce for the future,’ Ms Saffin said.
She said a Labor government guaranteed a nation-wide review that would ensure vocational educational was able to meet the training need of the nation.
She said an apprenticeship quota would be set on major federally-funded projects, and the Tools for your Trade program, which provides $3000 per apprentice.
A Labor government would pilot a program to help mature workers who had been retrenched to turn their extensive work experience into formal qualifications, with another program helping around 10,000 people get read for an apprenticeship.
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