Federal Assistant Minister for Vocational Education and Skills, the Hon Karen Andrews MP announced two new pilot programs in higher apprenticeships as part of a progressive roll-out of reforms in the vocational education sector.
Higher apprenticeships qualify people at diploma, advanced diploma and associate degree levels for roles in areas such as commerce, technology and advanced manufacturing.
The two pilots will offer innovative training solutions for the jobs of the future. They have been developed in partnership with industry to meet needs for advanced training outside the traditional university system.
“These pilots are a step in the right direction as they will also help ensure the continued relevance of vocational education and training and demonstrate its reach.
“Participants in the pilots will have the opportunity to complete an advanced qualification leading to careers in business and financial services, IT and new areas of advanced manufacturing,” Minister Andrews said.
The announcement fulfils the Government’s $9.2 million commitment to testing alternative apprenticeship models and is part of boosting the status of VET.
Minister Andrews said the pilots will strengthen Australian industry’s role in the training system and help secure the link between training and jobs.
“Higher apprenticeship models that involve exposure to industry have been successful in strengthening apprenticeship participation overseas. Industry in Australia has been calling for opportunities like this,” Minister Andrews said.
Australian Industry Group Chief Executive, Innes Willox, welcomed the partnership.
“Ai Group is embarking on a major collaborative project that could reinvent apprenticeships in Australia. The aim is to create an apprenticeship model that will support the higher skills needed for the emerging fourth industrial revolution or what has become known as Industry 4.0,” he said.
Minister Andrews said PwC will collaborate with some of Australia’s largest employers. The pilot will create high quality vocational pathways for people wanting to move into a fulfilling career.
“This program will help reinvigorate the apprenticeship agenda in Australia. We have seen a recent decline in the number of apprenticeships and traineeships and this will drive new career opportunities,” PwC National Skills Leader, Sara Caplan said.
The pilots are the final two of five industry-led pilots to be funded under the Government’s Apprenticeship Training – alternative delivery pilots.
Minister Andrews said raising the status of VET was essential to convincing students and their families that it was a viable post-school option.
“We need to change the conversation about education in this country. A university degree isn’t for everyone, and apprenticeships and traineeships offer great career outcomes for so many people.
“If we think of education as a highway, it has many destinations and people should be free to choose how they get to the one that suits them – whether they are school leavers or people looking for a career change.”
The five pilots will be evaluated to assess their potential for application more broadly.