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Business push for funds to avoid apprenticeship crisis

The number of apprentices and trainees has almost halved in the past four years.
The number of apprentices and trainees has almost halved in the past four years.Picture: The West Australian

Big business lobby groups want the Federal Government to cough up cash to avoid an apprenticeship crisis.

The groups, including the Business Council of Australia and the Australian Industry Group, want the Government to commit to a new National Partnership Agreement worth $1.75 billion over five years.

The number of apprentices and trainees has almost halved, with 282,900 in the system as at last June compared to 515,000 four years earlier.

BCA chief executive Jennifer Westacott says a new agreement is needed to modernise the system and address the 45 per cent drop in the number of apprentices in training.

“This represents a system on the tipping point of crisis and the stark numbers of apprentices falling away from the system make it clear that we need to improve its performance,” she said.

Australian Industry Group chief executive Innes Wilcox says business wants a healthy apprenticeship system to serve market labour trends and emerging industries.

Apprentices and trainees represent less than 3 per cent of the total workforce, which is the lowest share in a decade.

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