Group training issues statement to government

Friday, 02 November, 2007

The national peak body representing employers of apprentices and trainees, Group Training Australia (GTA), recently released an election statement, calling on the federal government to increase its investment in the Joint Group Training Program (JGPT) to $100 million and be matched dollar for dollar by all state and territory governments.

GTA believes there is a real need to substantially boost investment in the group training sector and that the government needs to redress this situation. The primary funding vehicle for group training is currently the JGPT. GTA believes funding for this program has remained at extremely low levels for too long and is now insufficient to enable group training organisations to respond to short- and medium-term skills training needs.

This employment and training intermediary system currently employs over 40,000 apprentices and trainees and is responsible for one in five traditional trade apprentices and indigenous, disability and school-based apprenticeships.

With skills development and skills shortage being critical issues for both political parties to confront throughout the course of the upcoming election campaign, GTA believes it is now time for group training to expand its sphere of influence.

The statement, entitled ‘Maximising Gains: Adding Value — a stronger role for group training in skills development’, outlines a series of policy initiatives which would allow group training to ramp up its capacity in the areas of school to work transition, the youth labour market, retraining and returning to the workforce, and the provision of infrastructure and other support within the vocational education sector. It also calls for a substantial upgrade in the critical area of pre-apprenticeship and pre-vocational training.

A key factor in the success of the group training network is the provision of pastoral care and additional care and support to its apprentices and trainees. GTA’s policy statement highlights the role and value of mentoring by a group training organisation and calls for this feature to be more broadly recognised and supported when devising and implementing vocational education and training policy.

The election statement along with GTA’s earlier policy document ‘A better skilled workforce’ are both available for perusal at www.grouptraining.com.au.

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