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The theme of change and restructuring of the Australian Apprenticeships system is evident in all of these six documents. These reports point out several weaknesses in the current system that if not corrected, may require costly interventions in the future. For example, the report of the government-appointed Panel mentions the importance of coming up with an Apprenticeships System that is more efficient that can create a large number of personnel that are more competent and with the ability to meet the demands of the Australian economy (McDowell et al 2011). According to McDowell et al (2011), the Apprenticeships system is not serving its purpose, a statement that is repeated in the other five articles.
The Housing Industry of Australia asserts that even though the Apprenticeships system needs reforms, the industry must be involved in such undertakings to come up with a better one that will ensure apprentices stay onto their jobs (Housing Industry of Australia 2011). Australian Industry Group commends the report of the government panel and says that it will reform the system after many years of delays (Australian Industry Group 2011). Amy Simons, in her report, says that the current system is responsible for young Australians abandoning their jobs (Simmons 2011) while Senator Evans stresses the need to restructure the system to teach skills that are key to the growth of the Australian economy (Evans 2011), similar calls are made by the Australian Council of Trade Unions (Australian Council of Trade Unions Group 2011).
The articles that were selected have a similar outlook of the Australian Apprenticeships system and the need for urgent reforms. The reports cite several weaknesses in the current program as a justification for the reforms, majorly, the low completion rates. Simmons mentions that more than half of those enrolled in Apprenticeships programs drop out of the system. This anomaly is due to the low pay rates. Senator Evans mentions that since 42 percent of those enrolling in Apprenticeships programs are aged 25 and above, there is a need for a new system that recognizes previous experience or skills, this will motivate more persons to enroll in the program (Evans 2011). Quoting one of the recommendations by the panel, HIA reports that reforms will address the issue of high dropout rates and they will make the system simpler. The reforms will reduce Australia’s over-reliance on imported labor and meet the demands of the Australian labor market (Australian Council of Trade Unions 2011).
The current system is blamed for several weaknesses, for example, it contains many difficulties and inconsistencies, and hence the reforms are vital towards overcoming the obscurities (Australian Industry Group 2011). While the Australian Apprenticeships system continuously provides skilled labor to the market, there is a need for urgent reforms that will lead to the production of a skilled and flexible labor force that can meet the challenges of the Australian economy is competing with other global economies. Besides, the new system will meet the changing skill requirements as well as the ambitions and anticipations of the participants.
The current Apprenticeships system does not offer quality training and support to participants. McDowell et al point out that participants quit their programs because of poor experiences at places of work, that is, they are not accorded adequate employment support. Support and mentoring not only reduces dropout rates, but it also increases job retention rates, hence the need to reform the current system and adopt one that offers more support and mentoring during training and at the workplace.
The current system has experienced high dropout rates as it is not rigid enough and it is very easy to walk out of the system. The low completion rates are caused by low wages, a lack of motivation among the participants, and receiving an obsolete education, especially with the constantly changing labor market requirements. Individuals who complete Apprenticeships programs are forced to take up jobs for which they never trained. This leads to frustration and such people eventually quit their positions.
One of the positive aspects of globalization is that it has increased the movement of labor across the world and it is now easy to import labor. The current system does not impart the knowledge required by the economy, hence it has had to import skilled labor. If this situation persists, the more than 400,000 students enrolled in the Vocational Education and Training, or nearly 4% of the workforce, may lack employment.
I believe that the Australian Apprenticeships system requires urgent reforms. The current system is too jumbled up without any concise strategies on how to go about its duties. The participant who is lucky to complete their sessions are left stranded or are employed for jobs that they did not train for (increasing the chances of such people quitting the jobs), in short, the current system offers courses that are obsolete and have no direct application towards economic growth. Besides, the training system is just too flexible and this accounts for the high dropout rate. Reform will ensure high completion rates, fellow youths are in employment and the economy grows rapidly.
Australian Council of Trade Unions. (2011). Apprenticeship reforms are long overdue and must be acted on to provide a skilled labour force. Web.
Australian Industry Group. (2011), Apprenticeship report an opportunity for real reform. Web.
Evans, C. (2011). Reforming the Australian Apprenticeship system. Web.
Housing Industry of Australia (2011), National Apprenticeship Reform Needs Industry Input. Web.
McDowell, J., et al. (2011). A Shared Responsibility – Apprenticeships for the 21st Century. Web.
Simmons, A. (2011). Report savages apprenticeship system. ABC News. Web.