Master Builders Australia (MBA) has welcomed the Government’s statement on the importance of having a high quality training system without the current challenges faced by the apprenticeship system.

According to Master Builders Australia, a high quality training system with less red tape on compliance and an ongoing reform process that will make it more relevant to modern business needs, is the need of the hour.

Industry Minister Ian Macfarlane had recently highlighted the significant challenges of the current apprenticeship system, especially the low completion rates and a growing disconnection from the system by many employers.

Master Builders Australia CEO Wilhelm Harnisch called upon the Minister to follow through on his commitment to work with industry to address these problems and reverse current downward trends.

He underlined the importance of a modern apprenticeship system that would allow for many pathways to obtaining a trade qualification in order to reflect the increasingly diverse training approaches of employers and of people seeking to enter building trades.

The Minister’s announcement of $5 million to extend apprentice mentoring programs such as Master Builders Construction Apprenticeship Mentoring Scheme (CAMS) was also welcomed by Master Builders.

Wilhelm Harnisch also called for a reduction in the red tape compliance burden to encourage more employers to take on and retain apprentices. The need for reducing compliance costs is particularly pressing given the decision by the Fair Work Commission (FWC) to increase pay rates for first and second year apprentices engaged from 1 January this year.

He observed that the prospect of paying up to 55% of the wage of a qualified tradesperson for a first year apprentice is acting as a barrier for construction industry employers and Group Training Companies wishing to offer young people the opportunity to begin a trade career.

Master Builders looks forward to working closely with the Government to help shape reform of the apprenticeship and skills training system, and deliver enhanced outcomes for apprentices, the industry and the economy.