The Carpenter Government will open up the market for apprenticeship funding to the private sector - paving the way for a more competitive, flexible and responsive training system.
Announcing the reforms today, Education and Training Minister Mark McGowan said the change was part of an ongoing reform agenda to modernise Western Australia’s training system.
Mr McGowan said the current system, where the majority of Government funding available for apprenticeship delivery was quarantined for the TAFE sector, would be opened up completely to deliver a more responsive and flexible training system.
“While there has been some opening up of the system in the past, it was limited and resulted in a mere 25 out of a total of 71 apprenticeship programs being open to the private sector,” he said.
“The changes I am announcing today, which I foreshadowed at the training forum in early May, will allow all 71 apprenticeship programs to be potentially delivered by the private sector.
“It will also increase the funding available to the private sector for apprenticeship training from $36million in 2007-08, to $57million in 2008-09. This comes on top of the $20million that is already available to private providers for traineeships and other programs.
“This means there will be more choice and potentially more training options available, particularly in regional areas.
“For example, a private training organisation in Albany or Geraldton will now be able to apply to deliver apprenticeships in plastering or wall tiling for example, when previously those options were not locally available either through the private or the public TAFE system.
“This will create significant opportunities for industry and the local community, while also helping to address the skills shortage in WA.”
The Minister said the new system would start this month with a call for applications for registered training providers to deliver apprenticeship training in 2009 being advertised tomorrow and an information session on the new system to be held in Perth on June 13.
National executive officer for the Australian Council of Private Education and Training Western Australia (ACPET WA) Andrew Smith welcomed the Government’s recognition of private providers as a vital contributor to the WA economy and workforce population.
Mr Smith said ACPET WA supported any increase in funding for the private training industry to ensure an equitable and comprehensive range of workforce and training options for all Western Australians.
Mr McGowan said the Government had made major inroads into boosting apprentice and trainee numbers over the past seven years and continued in its efforts to address skill shortages.
· increasing the number of apprentices and trainees in WA by a massive 96 per cent since 2001;
· introducing sweeping changes to update the Vocational Education and Training Act 1996 and create a single, modern system for apprenticeships and traineeships;
· consolidating the number of industry advisory bodies from 14 to 10 to bring WA’s training advice arrangements in line with the national system of skills advice; and
· allocating an additional $66million in the recent State budget to further increase the number of apprentices and trainees in WA to a total of 39,000.
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