Apprentice training shock

Furniture finishing and upholstery apprentice Dean Lucas with his father and employer Jim Lucas. Picture: Marcus Whisson         www.communitypix.com.au   d436090
Furniture finishing and upholstery apprentice Dean Lucas with his father and employer Jim Lucas. Picture: Marcus Whisson        www.communitypix.com.au d436090

Five apprenticeship courses, including wood machining and automotive trimming, will not be offered in WA in 2016, meaning students must fly to Queensland.

Department of Training and Workforce Development director-general Ruth Shean confirmed the Government would pay for student flights to Queensland, as well as a $110-a-day accommodation allowance, but insisted the changes were cost-effective.

�There is a lack of demand for enrolments in these qualifications, which makes it unviable for Polytechnic West to continue to deliver the courses,� Dr Shean said.

�This is a cost-effective strategy and represents better value for taxpayers than continuing delivery in WA with high infrastructure costs and low participation rates.�

Motor vehicle and marine trimming lecturer Drew Menzies said the decision could deter students from the trades and force businesses to look elsewhere for staff.

�We�ve got low numbers in apprentices � part of that is because everyone went mining, but now it�s slowly drying up � but any new apprentices in these trades won�t be able to train in WA, they�ll have to go to the Eastern States,� Mr Menzies said.

�We had three apprentices coming though last year who have all now given up because they couldn�t get any clarification on where or how they would do their training.�

Mirrabooka MLA Janine Freeman said the State Government needed to diversify trades training in WA in the wake of continued mining job losses, rather than funnel students into a select few industries.

�It is clear that there is still demand for these courses, otherwise they simply wouldn�t offer them at all,� she said.

�Tendering them out then sending our training to an interstate campus makes no sense; it is costly and disrespectful to students and their personal commitments, asking them to travel interstate to get a qualification to meet WA�s industry needs.�

Dr Shean said Tafe fees would rise this year, with student contribution to course fees increasing to around 17.5 per cent, from 15 per cent.

Apprenticeships to go:

Automotive and marine trimming

Floor laying

Furniture upholstery

Furniture polishing

Wood machining