In a mid-February press release Federal Minister for Skills and Training Brendon O’Connor announced the establishment of a Strategic Review of the Australian Apprenticeships Incentive System.

The review will be led by The Honourable Justice Iain Ross and Ms Lisa Paul. Justice Ross served as a judge of the Federal Court of Australia from 2012 to 2022 and President of the Fair Work Commission (formerly Fair Work Australia) during the same period. Lisa Paul is a former senior Australian public servant and policymaker and currently serves as the Chancellor of the University of Canberra.

Apprenticeship completion rates have been in steady decline over several years. Thus, “the review is looking into how support can best be placed to increase the completion rate.” This is in line with governments’ desire to lift completion rates across the sector, and in apprenticeships and traineeships in particular.

According to the website for the review:

The Incentive System provides financial support to apprentices, trainees and employers working in priority industries. It is intended to encourage people to start an apprenticeship or traineeship and see it through to completion. This is to ensure Australia has workers with the trade and technical skills needed by industry, providing a secure, well-paid work and career advancement.

The priority list for apprenticeships includes a wide range of occupational areas and related qualifications. It “is based on the Skills Priority List published by Jobs and Skills Australia in September 2023.

What the review will look at

Again, and according to the review website, it will look at:

  • “How the Incentive System and complementary services are performing in helping the take up and completion of apprenticeships and traineeships.
  • The effect that cost-of-living pressures is having on apprentices and trainees.
  • How the Apprenticeships System can best support high quality apprenticeships and traineeships, including the roles of government support, workplace conditions and culture, and employers.
  • If the current system is creating a training environment encouraging women, First Nations people, people with disability and people in regional, rural and remote communities into apprenticeships and traineeships.
  • How the Incentive System can be aligned with the priorities in the 2023 Employment White Paper and the Australian Government’s broader economic objectives.”

The review’s term of reference can be found here.

You can also sign up to an email list to receive updates on the Australian Apprenticeship Incentive System through the review website.