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FEW THOUGHTS ON AUS TRADE TRAINING & ACCESS TO EMPLOYMENT Trade training apprenticeships is an outdated (medieval in fact) form

of training more in keeping with the medieval secrets of the craft and freedom of passage - there is too many non completions of indentured employment which provides little rights or privileges for apprentices under Australian industrial law, even under Federal Human Rights Legislation. The current contractual shortfall is one of assumed mutual dislocation of an apprentice from his/her training there are too many apprenticeship abuses to investigate and the easy option for the DET is an arrangement of musical chairs for the apprentice where the removal of a chair leaves an apprentice(s) without an employer chair to sit on. The pace of this irresponsible charade at times may quicken depending on how Govt fudges the statistics. DET advise apprentices to leave alleged abusive employers and do little otherwise, because Govt cant or wont, stem the continued stream of ill content. The apprenticeship scheme is essentially socially dislocating when there are better means of training, surely this dislocation can be seen as a Human Rights issue. Parents raise their kids and serious dislocation sets in when the adolescent fails to obtain an apprenticeship. Its so easy to blame the adolescent they are not always in the wrong, but its hard on anyone who is coerced from their employment. Apprentices in medieval times were taken under the contract of a master craftsman or woman under a socio economic system that was regardless of the conditions of servitude far better than the general employment population of the time. To think that the current process for apprentices is reversed with that of inadequate tenure, appalling award and unscrupulous employers and Govt is how our society has regressed. FULL TIME TRAINING AS AN OPTION OR MAINTAIN ATTRITION? Why not have both full-time trade training and apprenticeship schemes? Maybe because of the mindset to challenge anything that is different and may work better ie to stifle competition is wrong but it works ok lets leave it alone. There is a section of employers that set up their businesses to run with apprenticed cheap labour which differ markedly with other businesses requiring just qualified tradesmen ie their businesses are set up to compete and do so more effectively without apprentices. So the apprenticed businesses eventually turn over their newly qualified staff to those businesses not having apprentices. The lead time to accomplished trade level is four years or more where the market demand is maintained curiously with uncertainty of outcome because of the haphazard apprenticeship scheme - the 1

skill shortage has been induced and its costing Aus with business welfare and other inefficiencies like throwing people on the scrap heap (dispensable apprentices) as an excuse to open up the flood gates to bring in more so called skilled tradesmen and others. Govt could give the market what it wants and trade train people full time (4 days/week) TAFE could easily replicate the on site training and if need be take the whole class to a location such as a public works or large infrastructure. Four days a week for one year (apart from TAFE breaks and tutorials) is hard but would also reinforce learning with the objective to give broad based training, unlike the current system of on site trade training. The businesses that set up without apprentices should respond positively to full-time graduates and be able to pay accordingly to the skill level. One further year in the field could permit full licensing within two years greatly reducing the skills shortage. One of the main shortfalls of apprenticeship on site training is that the employer is unlikely in many cases to fulfil the training needs of the apprentices which further lengthens the availability to broad market needs beyond four years In keeping with this process TAFE itself is under funded in the trades training areas. Because apprentices have less industrial rights than other Aus citizens they are not allowed to complain about the employment conditions or the training they receive. Training modules are frequently out of date. TAFE do not employ technical writers, modules are badly written with mistakes that are not corrected, and how anyone can seriously expect that a module for training in Refrigeration and Air Conditioning NR07 written in Oct 1996 is current text for trade training. There are not enough technical teachers employed full time. Current TAFE practice is to reemploy retired teachers. NSW Govt services are ATTRITIONED, if people are being killed in public hospitals and nothing is done, then TAFE training would no doubt have less priority and what ever rorts and bad administration practices are current will simply remain. The biggest business fraud of all is that there is little control over the on site training of apprentices by employers, the whole premise is falsely based on the assumption that apprentices will be trained by employers under training contract or an otherwise willing and knowledgeable tradesmen. In fact Aus perpetuate the skills problem with deficiently skilled tradesmen that cannot teach. How would this translate into the future of TAFE training teachers.

My own account of being apprenticed with a refrigeration company that dealt only in container refrigeration and had no licensed electrician, fell well short of the training contract requirements of the refrigeration and air condition trade as a whole. To add insult to this compounding injury is that employers that gear their business to cheap labour and getting paid incentive by the Govt to promote abusive incompetent work training practice inadvertently punish those business that gear their businesses to qualified above award wages. Apprentices and their employers are out of the loop in sustainable wage justice under industrial law. EMPLOYMENT MARKETING OR RETIREMENT MARKETING? The use of group trainers is simply a form of employment agency that is a self serving middle sector Govt gravy train. Tell me why an employer cannot link with an employee and vice versa on the internet? The employment industry including group trainers are a coven of middle sector inefficiency which prides itself on patronising the disqualification of valid applicants for positions. Often young people employed by these agencies without any idea of skills audit training make prejudicial assessments usually on age, maybe because the host employers wants someone young. As a personal example how can Advantage Recruitment in Newcastle use the excuse that I had to provide them with my past WorkCover injury records in order to satisfy their clearance to find me work. This after having done a two hour induction and which prior I had just completed and paid for OHS General Induction for Construction Work plus a Forklift qualification with Advantage Recruitment. There is no genuine skills audit or physical assessment rather a prejudiced approach to filtering applicants for employers who are wittingly or otherwise equally prejudiced. This process is the monopolisation of labour likened to employment racketeering. There is a growing overseas recruitment supported by the Govt that lends support to unscrupulous labour practice. The anecdote is that Aus prefer cheap and young workers that promote the illusion of image and success throw out the old in with the new, an ethos typical of a society caught up in consumerism. Perhaps it is specifically more or less generational thinking from boomer through to X & Y to believe that the aging population is upon us and we need to deal with it broadly so lets just shuffle the whole bunch of these 50s plus into the nursing homes and levy them heavily for the remainder of their natural lives. Govt is the main offender in the crass policy of importing international labour and then disenfranchising domestic labour onto oblivion young and old Aus are now 3

effected because employment marketing is all wrong and we need to move away from promoting the Keynesian underclass of unemployment. The complaints of skills shortages by employers and employees are due to inadequate access to a free labour market so that all people can approach employers and show them what they have because of the labour monopolisation. The simple remedy would be to remove the employment agency monopolising of filtering and other adverse non competitive practices to increase employment competition where employer and employee(s)can broach each others needs. But his would effect the Govt and Trendoid agenda of open door immigration policy that disenfranchises our people for employment positions that requires training investment. EXPORT OR IMPORT? Apropos of immigration international policy is the belief that we create a multi billion dollar export industry by training rich kids from overseas at Australian universities. This is so we can promote the nepotism of developing countries and assist in the focusing of wealth in those countries. Really this training is a form of currency exchange, a cash cow for universities. TAFE as a tertiary trainer makes some benefit from this process as well as Aus universities. But when it comes to training our own people there is no investment benefit rather its viewed as an expense of a necessary evil with the exception of apprentice employers who relish the business welfare and cheap labour. The product marketing of an export in teaching people with money to supposedly improve their export potential to Aus does not equate in the training investment in our own people for Aus future in developing Aus export industry. The pundits want to believe that there is some cognisance to all this and that it benefits Aus as a Nation. MEANWHILE BACK ON PLANET EARTH! The apprenticeship trade training at TAFE excludes unemployed people for training positions because of the premise that employers need student positions for their prospective employees, a position sanctioned in the training laws that prevent competition. There is the illusive argument that somehow it all works to balance TAFE training with on site training. It is an illusive argument because on the one hand you have accredited teachers at TAFE and on the other you dont even need tradesmen on site with an apprentice, supervision can be regulated according to the employers requirements. I could use my own experience here where I was almost exclusively supervised by an unlicensed tradesman for seven 4

months having been told by the senior qualified tradesman that he would be unable to attend to my training on a personal level because he had to attend to the needs of the unqualified person training me and a drug addicted apprentice who had failed his apprenticeship training. The status quo of anecdote is that apprentices must endure according to the traditions of the rights of passage written in medieval stone. The non factual anecdotal evidence is that apprentices are somehow being well trained, and this is the false premise that the Federal and State Govt rely on to build our Nation. I would suggest that the apprenticeship contracts were more economically effective and fair in the medieval times because of the closer circle of players and the rather serious consequences of breaches of trust. There is little trust in the current one sided contract system, with either party tossing it in but more so coercion on the part of the employer (or DET) to sign off mutual dislocation dislocation not resignation of contract. The process of adequate competition in training its workforce is an imperative. Govt must find and redirect the funding for full-time trade training that complements apprenticeship training that would provide competitive marketing approach, a start to reindustrialising this country. In doing so Govt must centralise all employment into a central data base to prevent labour monopolisation and prejudicial discrimination. Any nation beset by a severe recession (or worse) must have the materials and industrials and agricultural independence to defend the sovereignty of its people, ask any economist that isnt in the Govt of NSW. By Charles Norville TAFE refrigeration ac trade student Tighs Hill (Newcastle NSW) 10 Nov 2008