Skills slump harmed by low apprentice pay and rip-offs

UnionsWA commented on today’s report in The West Australian regarding WA’s skills slump.

Meredith Hammat, Secretary UnionsWA said:

“It is just absurd for employers to complain that modest increases to the low pay of apprentices will worsen our skills slump.

“We won’t be able to keep young people in apprenticeships if their wages remain low. 

“This is especially critical in WA where our costs of living are so high.

“Employers shouldn’t be allowed to force apprentices out of skills training by keeping wages low and then seek to use overseas tradies.

“Even with the low wages for apprentices now, a recent Fair Work Ombudsman audit that found that many employers in the WA building industry are not properly paying those wages.

“Building and other industries that employ tradespeople, and that should be employing apprentices, can afford modest apprentice wage increases.

“The most recent statistics show that in March 2013 there were 31,746 starts in WA for new apprentices and trainees, but 14, 218 cancellations and withdrawals.

“We have got to build the skills of our young people.

“Governments need to intervene to do more to support skilled jobs.”

Further information

The Fair Work Ombudsman Report ‘WA/SA/NT residential building industry apprentices and trainees campaign 2013’ is available at:

http://www.fairwork.gov.au/media-centre/media-releases/2013/10/pages/20131003-wa-sa-nt-residential-building-campaign.aspx

National Centre for Vocational Education Research statistic are available here:

http://www.ncver.edu.au/publications/2654.html


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