Apprentice and trainee numbers in South Australian decline but we have employers desperate to hire


A new article in The Advertiser today reports on the decline in the number of apprenticeships. Despite this, we have a huge demand from employers wanting to hire apprentices.

The biggest obstacle seems to be the number of under 21’s who either do not have a drivers license or have lost their licenses. The Government needs to consider reversing the policy that requires people to be on their ‘L’ plates for 12 months. Along with this, the loss of a drivers license can result in being completely excluded from working in the building and construction industry. Using public transport to get to different job sites, some of which are located in new suburbs without any infrastructure – is not practical or even possible most of the time.

Below is the article from The Advertiser:

THE number of traineeships and apprenticeships being undertaken in South Australia has continued to decline, a new report shows.

South Australia’s Training and Skills Commission 2017 Annual Report, tabled in State Parliament on Tuesday, showed last year there were 15,700 apprentices and trainees in training from 17,100 the year before – an 8.2 percent drop. An estimated 6100 apprentices and trainees successfully completed their training contract in the 12 months between July 1, 2016 and June 30, 2017 – again down from the year before when there was 6700 – a drop of 9 percent.

In the report, Commission chair Michael Boyce said SA has followed a national trend.“Apprenticeship and traineeship activity has declined nationwide since July 2012 due to multiple factors,” Mr Boyce said.“The significant decrease in traineeship activity was primarily driven by the removal of almost all funding to employers for employing existing workers under the Australian Government’s Australian Apprenticeships Incentives Programme.“Challenging economic conditions reduced apprenticeship commencements between 2012-13 and 2015-16.“However, the impact of these changes has lessened in the past three years, with preliminary data indicating apprenticeship commencements have stabilised, while the decline in traineeship commencements has slowed.”The new State Government has promised $100 million over the forward estimates to create 21,000 new apprenticeships or traineeships in SA. Last month The Advertiser revealed the new program to expand skills training for young people in SA will start from July, despite ongoing negotiations to unlock $100 million in crucial federal cash.

Source: Apprentice and trainee numbers in South Australian decline | Adelaide Now

HIA-Stratco South Australia Awards Apprentice Bricklayer 2017 – Hayden Ashby


Big congratulations to Haydon Ashby, of Semaphore South, South Australia, for being awarded Apprentice Bricklayer of the Year 2017 in the HIA-Stratco state annual Apprentice & Trade Contractor Awards, held recently in Adelaide. Haydon is now in his third year, employed by HIA under a Group Training Organisation (GTO) arrangement where his host employer is Michael Quaini bricklayer based in Cowandilla, Adelaide.

Haydon started work with Michael in early 2016 and has proven through his diligence and skill to be a worthy recipient of this award, as judged by field officers employed by HIA. There was only one bricklaying Award made by HIA and sponsor Stratco, covering all bricklaying apprenticeship years, so it is a strong recognition of effort to have achieved this award – well done Haydon!

I attended the event and on behalf of Australian Brick and Blocking Foundation (ABBTF) and presented this important award to Haydon. It was an honour and a pleasure to see SA’s apprentices from several trades, receive acknowledgement for their strong performances.

If you’re considering an Apprenticeship in SA check out your options at FCTA, TAFESA. Also visit Become-a-Bricklayer for information on how to explore bricklaying in your State and much more.

Just a bit more information on the role of Group Training:  For bricklayers not wanting to directly employ an Apprentice, Group Training is an excellent way to introduce new apprentices into your business without carrying the administration with the GTO employing and training the apprentice.

The host employer is a tradesperson who provides actual onsite training and as such pays the Group Training company a fee for the time that the apprentice spends onsite. There are advantages to this arrangement. For example some tradespeople want apprentices but do not want the responsibility of accruing or paying holiday pay, sick leave, and superannuation or training costs as such. Some tradesmen do not want the direct responsibility of overseeing the offsite training component and coordination of their apprentices to attend a local Training Provider (RTO), such as TAFESA, as part of the Certificate III completion. And some feel they may not have long term work and cannot sustain an apprentice for three to four years.

For apprentices it’s an alternative pathway to direct employment with a bricklayer, providing them instead with a ‘host’ employer while being employed by the GTO, in this case HIA. GTO vs RTO explained.

Tony Bishop
ABBTF Regional Manager North West

Source: HIA-Stratco South Australia Awards Apprentice Bricklayer 2017

There’s been another steep fall in the number of people doing apprenticeships | afr.com


by Robert Bolton

There’s been another steep fall in the number of people doing apprenticeships – although the government claims there are positive signs in the details.

At the end of September, there were 291,925 apprentices in training, that was 5.6 per cent fewer than at the same time in 2016. Trade apprenticeship commencements were down by 3.2 per cent year on year and non trade commencements down by 5.2 per cent. The government says although trade apprenticeships were down year on year, the quarter on quarter result shows an improvement of 4.2 per cent.

The Business Council of Australia, which has been pushing for an overhaul of the vocational sector said the apprenticeship system needs restoring.

 

Chief executive Jennifer Westacott said this meant restoring employer incentives, reducing unnecessary red tape and removing barriers that prevent employers from hiring apprentices.

“We need to get our act together and focus on the vocational system. We need transformational change so Australians can access education and training throughout their lives.

“Our tertiary system must be joined at the hip to industry. Without reform, we’ll lose new businesses and new activities to other countries.”

The chief executive of the Australian Industry Group, Innes Willox, said the overall trend continues a long-term slide in participation to the lowest level for a decade.

 

 

“The national level fell below 300,000 for the first time in September 2015. Since December 2015 the quarter levels of participation have ranged between the current figure of 262k and 285k.

“While there is improvement in some industry sectors, the overall levels of participation in this major training pathway continue to be a real concern to business and demonstrate the need for targeted and coordinated government invention.”

The minister for vocational education and skills Karen Andrews said the biggest single issue was raising vocational education and training as a good pathway for school leavers – since it has to compete against universities.

She said the overall decline showed the importance of the government’s $1.5 billion Skilling Australians Fund to arresting the slide. The fund was announced in 2017 and binds the states to match commonwealth spending. But so far no state government has committed to the agreement.

 

“The Federal Government has funding available right now for states and territories to sign up to the Skilling Australians Fund and submit projects so we can work together to address looming skills shortages in priority industries,” the minister said.

“The money hasn’t started to flow, states need to sign off on the agreement. There’s no reason why states can’t be putting proposals up to us”

But researcher Peter Noonan, from the Mitchell Institute, says more funding is not the issue.

He says the decline in apprenticeships reflects wider trends in the labor market. Employers are retaining existing skilled workers rather than putting on new ones.

“You can’t blame the decline on funding. Because the apprenticeships are fully funded. It’s more to do with general regard for skills training. There needs to be higher priority about skills training in the national conversation.”

He said the most alarming trend was community and personal service workers where training is down 7 per cent year on year and down 28 per cent compared to 2012.

“Ageing and child care are in demand and the accreditation system means people have got to be accredited. You would hope there would be more people coming through getting those qualifications.

TAFE directors said the Skilling Australians Fund may have come too late. CEO of TAFE Directors Australia Craig Robertson said the problem is employers were walking away from taking on apprentices because the system was too difficult to engage with.

“The Government has taken its eye off the ball by its sole focus on schools and universities and has forgotten about VET and the vast majority of working age Australians who need a strong robust VET system.”

Some sectors have shown especially sharp declines over the longer time frame – including Engineering, ICT and science technicians which are down nearly 70 per cent since 2012 and clerical trainees down 58 per cent.

Overall the current number of apprentices in training – at just under 262,000 compares to 443,000 in 2012.

Read more: http://www.afr.com/news/economy/employment/apprenticeships-continue-their-downward-slide-20180314-h0xg3y#ixzz5Ati8wikb
Follow us: @FinancialReview on Twitter | financialreview on Facebook

 

Source: Apprenticeships continue their downward slide | afr.com

Plumbing boss hit with $121k fine for ‘exploitation of a young person’


A YOUNG plumber was only paid one-fifth of what he was owed. When he asked his boss about it, all he got was abuse.

Source: Plumbing boss hit with $121k fine for ‘exploitation of a young person’

A MAN who told his employee to “seriously, f**k off” after the worker complained about being ripped off has copped a hefty fine.

Michael Patrick Pulis was slugged with a $21,500 penalty, while his company, Pulis Plumbing Pty Ltd, was hit with a further $100,000 fine.

Judge Grant Riethmuller found the employee — a 20-year-old plumber’s labourer — had been underpaid by $26,882 for work done in Melbourne, Geelong and Bendigo in Victoria over a period of just three months in late 2014.

Judge Riethmuller slammed Mr Pulis for his “outrageous exploitation of a young person” and said his conduct had been “nothing short of avarice”.

Mr Pulis paid the man an apprentice rate of just $12.18 per hour despite not having actually signed him up as an apprentice — which meant he was entitled to a far higher hourly rate of $37.08 for ordinary hours and up to $74.16 an hour for overtime.

Because the Fair Work Ombudsman had previously warned Mr Pulis that labourer rates must be paid unless an apprenticeship arrangement was formally registered, Judge Riethmuller found the underpayments had been deliberate.

The worker had only been paid one-fifth of what he was entitled to, and he also missed out on meal and travel allowances as well as leave and termination entitlements.

The employee worked 10- to 12-hour days and was never given feedback about his work, however, after three months on the job Mr Pulis told him his skills were not at a second-year apprentice level.

When the man asked his boss when he would be paid his wages, he was told: “Seriously, f**k off. When I’m ready.”

“The conduct is worse than simply underpaying an employee who has had difficulty obtaining work elsewhere, as the respondents also held out the lure of an apprenticeship to this young man: a particularly significant career and life goal for a young person who is not academically inclined,” Judge Riethmuller said.

“The amount of the underpayment, in comparison to the payments actually made, is significant.

“Remarkably, five of his previous apprentices were employed for less than 100 days.”

The judge said an apprenticeship was supposed to involve mentoring and training and that “in this sense, the employer is in a position of trust with respect to the apprentice”.

“A further loss on the part of the employee in this case is that the time working for the respondents cannot be counted against his apprenticeship because of the failure to sign and lodge the appropriate documentation.”

The young man was back-paid only after the Fair Work Ombudsman commenced legal action.

Mr Pulis and his company were also found to have breached record-keeping and pay slip laws and failed to comply with a Notice to Produce records issued by a Fair Work inspector.

Fair Work Ombudsman Natalie James said the conduct could only be described as deliberate.

“It is simply unacceptable to exploit any worker in such a way and the conduct is even more abhorrent when you consider the response the worker received for doing nothing more than asking for what he was lawfully entitled to,” Ms James said.

The Fair Work Ombudsman’s newly released Record My Hours smartphone app has been designed to help vulnerable young workers such as the labourer in question.

It uses geofencing technology to provide workers with a record of the time they spend at their workplace, and it can be downloaded from the App Store and Google Play.

Are school-leavers really not interested in trades?


Originally published: news.com.au

AFTER receiving their high school results over the past fortnight, graduates across Australia will be thinking long and hard about their options.

But while they’re going through their course options and preparing job applications, anxious about the dwindling graduate employment rate and competition for positions, there’s one category of jobs that will likely be overlooked.

Analysis by jobs website Adzuna has revealed the jobs that Australians just aren’t interested in, with trades and construction coming out on top.

With minimal qualifications required, you’d think trades would be a popular choice.

The report showed that while jobs advertised in the construction industry has increased by 10 per cent, apprenticeship commencements were down 5.6 per cent year on year.

Adzuna CEO Raife Watson called on schools to remind students of the option of vocational education and training as an alternative to university.

“Despite reports that the residential construction boom in Sydney is starting to wind down, we continue to see growth year-on-year in advertised vacancies across a wide selection of job roles in trades and construction,” he said.

“The primary concern for the construction industry is the continued decline in apprenticeship commencement rates.”

Apparently young Aussies are just not into trades or construction

Apparently young Aussies are just not into trades or construction

Mr Watson said there was a “stigma” associated with TAFE studies and apprenticeships that Australia needed to work to remove.

“Twenty-three university graduates compete for each role, whereas in some Australian states, two jobs are available for all qualified apprentices,” he said.

“I expect this number to increase in the coming years as apprenticeship numbers continue to decline.”

In South Australia, where school leavers’ results were released this morning, graduates are being urged to consider taking on a trade or traineeship.

Business SA says apprenticeships and traineeships are viable career options as Australia faces a skills shortage across a range of industries.

Sharyn Davies, from Apprenticeship Support Australia which is administered by Business SA, said a high score in year 12 is not a guarantee for future success.

“It’s more important for young people to follow their passions,” she said.

“When we are doing something that aligns with our strengths, skills and passions, we have a higher level of wellbeing and are more likely succeed in building a successful career.”

Source: School-leavers not interested in trades

Christmas Trading Information


FCTA – Building Careers will be closed for the Christmas Holidays from 12pm Friday 22nd December. We will reopen Monday 8th January. If you need to contact us during this period, please call Trisch on 0400597117 or email info@fcta.com.au.

We’d like to wish everyone all the best for the holidays and a happy and safe new year.

High hopes for hemp in Australian building industry


The builders of an award-winning home made from hemp hope to inspire a shift towards making it a mainstream construction material.

Balanced Earth recently won the Master Builders New South Wales Energy Efficient Building award for a home in the Byron Bay hinterland, in northern New South Wales.

Architect Michael Leung said while industrial hemp was popular in textiles, there was a growing interest in using the cannabis sativa plant in buildings.

“I think we’ve just hit the hemp industry at the right time, and in Byron Bay there’s a real consciousness and responsibility to the environment so it’s just seamlessly flowed together,” he said.

Builder Luke Wrencher said hemp’s most positive attribute was its sustainability.

“When you grow the hemp it takes the carbon out of the atmosphere and it stores the carbon in that fibre and you process it and lock the carbon up into the building, so at that point it becomes carbon negative,” he said.

“To have a building material that is carbon negative is almost revolutionary.”

Making hempcrete

To use hemp in construction, the builders take the chopped hurd, that is the inner woody core, and mix it with lime and sand to create a substance they have dubbed “hempcrete”.

In the award-winning Byron hinterland home, the builders constructed frames from recycled timber to hold the hempcrete walls.

“The actual packing of the hemp is very easy to do, kids, children, wives, husbands, anyone can do it,” Mr Wrencher said.

“The hardest thing is you need a carpenter for your formwork, but then it can definitely be a community thing to do, pack the hemp into the formed up walls.”

The set walls have a texture similar to rendered concrete.

Hand against wall made from hemp

Healthy option

Mr Leung said he began looking into hemp after his wife’s father died from mesothelioma, an asbestos-related illness.

“We moved to Byron and wanted to build our dream home and my wife was adamant we weren’t going to use any toxic materials,” he said.

“Then we met Luke, who had been working with hemp, and it went from there.”

Mr Leung said hemp had proven to have outstanding thermal and acoustic properties.

“It’s not just an insulator, it buffers temperature and humidity and prevents damp and mould growth,” he said.

“It makes the building a healthy environment.”

Making hemp mainstream

Mr Leung said the company’s goal was to make hemp commonplace in the Australian construction industry.

He said the cost was comparable to conventional building products and could potentially be lowered if greater quantities of industrial hemp were grown commercially.

“Our vision is to really get hemp into mainstream construction and design,” he said.

“We’re leading the way in terms of design and builds in this country in hemp and we’ve only done eight builds and a number of feature walls.

“We’d really like all builders to be using it and there’s no reason why they shouldn’t.”

Source: High hopes for hemp in Australian building industry

How to get an apprenticeship in Adelaide


Getting an apprenticeship in South Australia can lead to a long term career in the Building and Construction Industry. That means working outdoors, earning an income while you study and having the opportunity to eventually be your own boss. The tricky part can be choosing which trade is the best fit. Pre-apprenticeship courses are an excellent way to try a number of trades before selecting which one you most enjoy.

Many people select the trade they want to focus on based on knowing someone working in that field. That doesn’t necessarily mean its the trade for you, but it is a good way to find out what working in the industry is like. At FCTA – Building Careers we have developed a pre-apprenticeship programme that allows people to try bricklaying, tiling, plastering, basic concreting and scaffolding. These are also the trades we train apprentices in. That means if you enrol in a pre-apprenticeship course with us, you will be working on some projects with existing apprentices. This is a great way to find out more about the trade.

Currently, we have a number of employers urgently looking to hire apprentices. The majority are after people under 21 who have a drivers license and car. If you are in the process of getting your license, most will consider your application. Adult apprenticeships aren’t as readily available. This is because the employer is paying anyone over 21 at the full rate. Many times employers will prefer to hire people over 21 as labourers instead.

The difference between labouring and an apprenticeship is a ‘Contract of Training’. That means that apprentices sign a binding contract with employers to work for them under the apprenticeship scheme. The benefits for apprentices are that they are paid to go to trade school to complete a Certificate III in their trade of choice, that’s the ‘earn and learn’ tag sometimes mentioned. Contracts are normally for 4 years, so getting an apprenticeship offers both job security and further education.

To help get an apprenticeship in Adelaide you can enrol in a pre-apprenticeship course, approach trades people directly or contact group training organisations (GTO). GTO’s are places like the HIA, TABMA, Maxima, CEG who hire apprentices directly and then place the apprentice with a ‘host’ employer. The Government has also set up a great website that explains the pathways for apprentices https://www.aapathways.com.au/

If you are considering an apprenticeship and you have questions, you can always arrange a time to talk to us or come in for a meeting. Our pre-apprenticeship courses run through out the year. If you would like to enrol, please call on 8367 5615 or email admin@fcta.com.au. The dates for our next courses are:

05/09/2017 – 10/11/2017

30/01/2018 – 06/04/2018

06/03/2018 – 11/05/2018

01/05/2018 – 06/07/2018

Advertised positions are often posted on Gumtree, Facebook, Seek & Indeed Jobs. Each morning a summary of these advertised roles are posted to our Facebook page.

 

 

 

Hiring employees – Help for small business – Fair Work Ombudsman


Hiring a new employee is an important decision for your business. We have specialised resources to help you find the right person, get them started and meet your obligations under workplace laws.

Tips for hiring new staff

There are a few things you should know when you’re hiring staff, especially if you’re doing it for the first time.

Know the law

There are laws which give employees rights including minimum wages, pay slips, leave and notice of termination. You also need to know about tax, superannuation and workplace health and safety.

Thinking about hiring

Assess the current and future needs of your business and define the role you want to fill.

Attract the right people

Once you have a clear idea of the role you want to fill, advertise the position. Make sure the right people hear about it and want the job.

Choose the right person

Shortlist job applicants whose skills and experience best match the role, and ask interview questions that focus on the skills and abilities needed for the role.

Make an offer

Once you’ve chosen someone, contact them to offer them the job. It’s best to follow this up in writing with a letter of offer.

Start on the right foot

Invest time in a thorough introduction because this will help you get the most from your new employee. It will also make sure that your employee feels well-informed, welcomed and equipped to do their job.

Have a productive workplace

Meet with your new employee to set goals, expectations and training needs during the first few weeks. Then schedule regular catch-ups to talk about how they’re going.

Resources for hiring new staff

When you’re hiring new staff, you can use our Guide to hiring new employees (RTF 1.3MB)(PDF 309KB) to help you find the right employee for your workplace and get them started on the right track.

If you’re hiring an apprentice, use our Guide to taking on an apprentice (DOCX 64.9KB)(PDF 2.4MB) to help you understand your obligations.

Once you’ve hired someone, you can provide them with our Guide to starting a new job (DOCX 39.9KB)(PDF 235.7KB) or Guide to starting an apprenticeship (DOCX 68.6KB)(PDF 1.7MB), to help them understand their rights and obligations.

Source: Hiring employees – Help for small business – Fair Work Ombudsman

Degree apprenticeships bridge work and higher education — should we have them in Australia? – ABC News 


Degree apprenticeships bridge the gap between technical skills, employment and higher education. Is there scope for something similar in Australia?

There are growing calls for a debate about the role of post-school in society, both in Australia and overseas.

After 30 years of constant expansion, some complain universities have become too vocational in nature — too focused on jobs, not enough on the art of inquiry.

At the same time, the vocational education sector is reeling from 15 years of funding cuts and the aftershocks of failed free-market experiments.

Numbers in trade apprenticeships and traineeships are plummeting. Less than 30 per cent of vocational students in Australia work in the areas in which they studied.

The same is true of higher education. An annual survey of university graduates from 2014 shows 54 per cent of all bachelor’s degree holders said their qualification was a formal requirement for their job.

But the proportion ranged from one in four humanities graduates to 96 per cent of medical graduates. The more regulated the profession, the more degree and career path are likely to be correlated.

The British higher education system is rolling out an alternative education route.

Degree apprenticeships were launched in the UK in 2015. These are designed to bridge the gap between technical skills, employment and higher education.

They’re part of a larger scheme intended to reinvigorate apprenticeships more broadly.

A 0.5 per cent levy on corporations with an income of more than 3 million pounds ($4.8 million) funds the system.

Supporters say the initiative is good for employers and good for students, especially for disadvantaged students.

They not only struggle to get into higher education (despite an uncapped system) but are also much more likely to drop out of it.

How do degree apprenticeships work?

Degree apprenticeships work a lot like traditional trade apprenticeships: students work in a related job with their education strapped on around their employment.

Traditional degrees are steeped in theory and deliver practical experience through internships, practicums or other work-based experiences.

In contrast, degree apprenticeships deliver a skill and a qualification simultaneously. Students work four days a week and study for one.

Crucially, the apprenticeship levy covers tuition fees, so students don’t graduate with a debt.

If adopted here, this could enable Australia to avoid the distress over rising debts seen in the UK, where it is expected 80 per cent of students will never fully repay their loans.

In the last UK election, Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn rode a rising tide of anger among younger votersover student debt with his promise of a return to free higher education.

Even Andrew Adonis, Tony Blair’s former adviser and architect of the current loans scheme, switched camps.

He described the income-contingent loans scheme that resulted in a tripling of fees in 2012 as a Frankenstein’s monster and “a Ponzi scheme“.

Are we at a tipping point for higher education?

While Australia doesn’t have the same immediate crisis, several factors suggest higher education could be heading slowly towards a tipping point.

Government plans to increase university fees and introduce more rigorous parameters for the Higher Education Loans Program (formerly HECS) have sparked furious debate.

Meanwhile, graduates face a declining employment market. Just 69 per cent of graduates in 2014 held a full-time job four months after graduation, compared to 81 per cent a decade earlier.

Part-time work, casualisation and under-employment are widespread. Graduate salaries have been more or less static for years.

Increasingly, students, particularly the most advantaged, turn to postgraduate education to boost their chances in an overcrowded jobs market, raising questions over credentialism.

Having larger numbers of people with a higher degree produces public benefits, including better health, better parenting, higher rates of volunteering and lower rates of incarceration.

But all of this comes at a cost to the taxpayer and does little to correct an imbalance in skills entering the jobs market. Too many lawyers does not balance out a shortage in IT experts or agricultural scientists.

The question is whether new pathways need to be created to help young people straddle the gap between education and work.

Preparing graduates for the workforce

Work is underway on this issue in Australia.

The University of Tasmania, for example, is adding associate degrees, which are shorter, cheaper and more vocationally focused on local industries than full bachelor degrees.

Perhaps other institutions, particularly those in regional and outer-metropolitan areas, should consider the possibilities offered by the UK-style degree apprenticeship model.

These are the universities, after all, that educate by far the greatest proportion of disadvantaged students.

Ironically, degree apprenticeships are a modern, more work-intensive version of the associate degrees that colleges of advanced education offered before the higher education system was unified under the Hawke government in 1989.

Perhaps part of the emerging discussion should include a return to a tripartite public education and training system, which includes TAFE, teaching-only polytechnics and research-intensive universities.

The post-secondary education sector may have a limited appetite for more structural reform.

However, as a society, we do need to tackle the question of whether a higher education system devised 30 years ago, onto which uncapped student places have been glued, is still fit for purpose.

Times have changed and education systems must surely move with them.

Stephen Parker is an honorary professorial fellow at the Melbourne Centre for the Study of Higher Education, University of Melbourne and an emeritus professor at the University of Canberra. He is also the education lead partner at KPMG Australia.

Source: Degree apprenticeships bridge work and higher education — should we have them in Australia? – ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)