Wednesday, April 18th, 2012
The call by ACTU President Ged Kearney to hike apprentice wages to up to double existing levels would destroy the apprenticeship system and put an end to training opportunities for young people.

Master Electricians Australia’s General Manager for Workplace Relations, Jason O’Dwyer, said the ACTU’s apprentice wage test case with Fair Work Australia – supported by the Electrical Trades Union this week – would make it simply unaffordable for contractors to hire and train apprentices.

“Like the ACTU, we are concerned about trades shortages and training drop-out rates, but we don’t believe hiking the cost to small businesses is the answer,” Mr O’Dwyer said.

“The Resources sector cannot and will not create enough apprenticeships due to the fact that they can’t provide the breadth of work required to ensure apprentices achieve the full range of competencies required to complete electrical work in a variety of areas, including domestic, commercial, refrigeration, maintenance, LPG and instrumentation.

“The nursery for the majority of apprentices are the small electrical contractors with up to 30 staff where they have multiple service streams and the apprentice can gain the required experience and competency to become fully qualified and licensed electricians.

“The ACTU’s proposed wage rise would make apprenticeships unviable for many of these smaller operators, particularly considering that those businesses also subsidise the tools, TAFE time, uniforms, safety equipment and other costs of their employees while they are being trained.

“In an environment of significantly higher wages for apprentices, many businesses will come to the view that that money is better spent hiring more experienced workers instead.”

Mr O’Dwyer said industry figures showed that even at existing pay rates apprentices did not become profitable for at least two and a half years. Increasing wages would make employing an apprentice even more difficult and costly.

Instead of a massive wage hike, Mr O’Dwyer called for a Productivity Commission enquiry into the apprenticeship cost and funding structure, looking at state, federal and employer costs, the training system and the overall return to employees over their careers.

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Master Electricians Australia

Master Electricians Australia represents the best of the electrical trade across the country. We accredit electrical contractors who can deliver a professional, safe and reliable service.

Owned by the ECA Group, we form a nationwide network operating under the Master Electricians brand. The Master Electricians logo has become the hallmark that inspires trust for electrical contractors and consumers nationally.

With the ECA Group’s organisational strength behind us, we support our Master Electricians by delivering first-rate industry advice, expertise and services. We are a not-for-profit organisation that works to ensure our accredited Master Electricians possess and continue to retain the trade and business skills that keep them at the forefront of their industry.
Jessie Badger
P: 1300 889 198


electrician, electricians, electrical contractor, electrical contractors, apprentice, apprenticeship, actu



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