More apprentices needed

More apprentices needed

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State opposition leader Mark McGowan and federal opposition leader Bill Shorten with St Norbert’s college trade skills students last Thursday. Photograph – Kelly Pilgrim-Byrne.

Opposition leader Bill Shorten visited St Norbert’s college in Queens Park on Thursday to help spruik the state Labor party’s apprenticeship and traineeship plans.

State opposition leader Mark McGowan said if elected on March 11 they would introduce legislation to require companies tendering for contracts to identify how many jobs would be created from the works.

Major projects would be declared projects of strategic significance requiring more local apprenticeships and traineeships.

Local businesses would also be given first opportunity to compete for government contracts and $1 million per annum would be invested in the Industry Capability Network to assist local companies to compete for major government projects.

Mr McGowan said there were not enough local opportunities occurring from State Government funded works.

“As a former Training Minister I saw first hand the benefits an apprenticeship or traineeship can provide young people,” he said.

Mr Shorten said it was important for locals to get the first opportunity to do an apprenticeship or traineeship.

“We believe young people should have the choice to go to university or to do a trade and we want to make sure that if they do a trade that they’re confident that there are jobs at the end of it,” he said.

Training and Workforce Development Minister Liza Harvey said they already ensured companies that win government projects had a minimum number of apprentices and trainees across their entire workforce, not just on the government project.

“The Liberal National Government’s Government Building Training Policy ensures government construction, building or maintenance projects (over $2million labour value) will only be awarded to companies which have the industry average (11.5 per cent) of its workforce made up of apprentices and trainees,” she said.

“This scheme has the widespread support of industry and has significantly improved reporting of training numbers and ensuring companies are adhering to the policy and give an accurate number of trainees and apprentices on government projects.”

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