By Dana Morse, 29 August 2022
The completion rate for apprenticeships currently hovers around 55 per cent.(ABC News: Clare Sibthorpe)
Living in the suburbs of Western Sydney, Zac thought getting an apprenticeship was the best way to learn a skill and land a secure job.
- Businesses and unions have reached a consensus on tackling key issues around training and apprenticeships
- It will be raised at the Jobs and Skills Summit at the end of the week
- The government will be urged to lift wage subsidies for apprentices, then provide payments to workers and employers when training is complete
“I’ve always been good with electrical stuff,” he said.
“I’ve always been tinkering with things and pulling things apart and putting them back together.”
But after 18 months as an apprentice sparky, he gave it up because he could not afford to live on his measly wages.
“Seventeen dollars an hour — I think I was getting around $700 a week.
“I would almost be happy to go back if the pay was better and the working situation was better.”
He then tried his luck at carpentry but again found the wages and the conditions were unsustainable.
“I had to move tons of asbestos and I wasn’t warned. I wasn’t paid extra. I wasn’t given any safety clothes or anything like that,” he said.
“I just had to do it and shut up, basically.”
Zac’s case is not unique — the completion rate for apprenticeships currently hovers around 55 per cent and has done so for a long time.
According to Dianne Dayhew, from the National Apprentice Employment Network, that is completely unacceptable.
“Apprentices, when they start work, they are vulnerable,” she said.