Australian apprenticeships are world renowned, combining off-the-job electrical theory with on-the-job practical skills and a rigorous standard of testing, resulting in an electrical license and job ready tradespeople with fully transportable skills.
An electrical apprenticeship is accessible to anyone with the work ethic and technical capabilities to go out and pursue it. You don’t need to be rich to get into our trade. The current training system makes sure that young people have a shot at our trades.
But this is under threat. New initiatives unveiled by the National Electrical Contractors Association (NECA) and Master Electricians Australia (MEA) will push the cost of an apprenticeship onto young Aussies and their families, through institutional delivery. Young “potential” apprentices would be saddled with debt with no guarantee of a job.
“The Industry will promote the introduction of blended learning delivery models which provide more flexible opportunities through: Use of intensive forms of up-front training” - NECA Apprentice Fact Sheet
They want to introduce “flexible learning environments” that will see apprentices doing online training without supervision, in their own time and for a fee, separate to their on-the-job experience.
“With an engaging platform delivered via laptop, tablet or phone, you and your staff will be able to access training 24/7” with the “Potential to accelerate apprenticeships” - Master Electricians Training
NECA have already taken up to $10m in taxpayer’s money to devise “alternative delivery methods” for apprenticeships. MEA have partnered with a disgraced outfit called Careers Australia to begin their own sub-standard training schemes.
They don’t stop there, they are constantly attacking apprentices and our electrical licence.
“Providers should reintroduce night schools to ease the pressure on the workplace” - NECA Policy Statement 2015
“NECA would recommend the reduction of minimum wages for apprentices” and MEA “this aspect of the modern award standard is too high” – Productivity Commission submissions
NECA are effectively trying to de-regulate and dumb down our electrical licence “there is a need for alternative entry points at Certificate II (including Trades Assistants)” - NECA Policy Statement 2015
The training models being advanced by NECA and MEA will severely damage the standing of Australian electrical licenses. They’ll see skills and knowledge deteriorate. They’ll see sparkies start their careers with a mountain of debt. And they’ll see safety and productivity suffer in our workplaces.
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