Vic research institute commends Apprenticeships Taskforce

Wednesday, 09 November, 2022

Vic research institute commends Apprenticeships Taskforce

The McKell Institute has commended the Victorian Government for establishing a taskforce to improve the work lives of apprentices. In its pitch to voters ahead of the state election, Labor announced that it will establish an Apprenticeships Taskforce to make sure tradespeople are working in fair and safe environments. The taskforce would include workers, unions and industry. It would also consider ways to improve regulatory arrangements, training plans, screening processes, complaint reporting, enforcement for apprentices encountering mistreatment, and employer accountability.

A report released by the McKell Institute called for policymakers and regulators to increase the voices of Victorian apprentices in their deliberations to ensure their issues are considered and addressed. The institute also suggested employers should be properly held accountable for bad on-the-job experiences of their apprentices, with approvals revoked if they breached safety laws. McKell Institute CEO Michael Buckland said a taskforce would create a layer of oversight that is needed to improve workplace culture and safety for people starting their careers. Buckland said the number of apprentices and trainees in Victoria has declined significantly over the last decade — while this trend is starting to reverse, measures like the Apprenticeships Taskforce will help speed up the process.

“It’s encouraging to see workers would be involved in the proposed taskforce. Apprentices’ voices are vital in shaping better workplaces, and boosting workforce numbers and retention rates. We know that apprentices are vulnerable to being bullied, harassed, subjected to dangerous conditions and underpaid. This exploitation creates toxic workplace cultures and fuels workforce shortages, as those who are subjected to it are less likely to finish their apprenticeship. Apprentices are building Victoria’s future. We need to make sure they have fair and safe workplaces so they feel encouraged to work on the projects of tomorrow,” said Buckland.

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