VMA surveys industry for apprentice incentive improvement

Kellie Northwood, chief executive officer, VMA

The Visual Media Association (VMA) continues to lobby the government and represent industry across skills and training.

As part of seeking to address apprenticeship take-up and completion rates, the Department of Employment and Workplace Relations is undertaking a strategic review of the Australian apprenticeship incentive system. The scope of this review seeks to include detailed inputs through industry consultation. The VMA is participating in this consultation process and is appealing to industry to participate in the VMA Skills Priority List Survey to feed content into the Department’s review.

Launched in 2022, the peak industry body has made a determined effort to increase the

industry’s collection of industry metrics and data to influence government decisions. With 2022 being the release of the first Skills Survey, then in 2023 the Annual Industry Metrics Survey and now the re-release of the Skills Survey, the Association is calling on all members and industry to take the time and participate in the survey to ensure submissions to government carry weight when arguing for our industry’s requirements.

“We recognise how busy our members are running their businesses. However, the 15 May government deadline across the apprenticeship incentive review is something we must comply with and ensuring our data is accurate and up to date is critical. I urge all the industry, not only our members, to complete the survey. It is a short ten-minute questionnaire which will provide a solid argument into government articulating why our apprentices should be incentivised and supported when completing our apprentice programs,” said Kellie Northwood, chief executive officer, VMA.

The VMA has stepped up its attention to building skills and training improvements across the industry, with support for The Smith Family’s Future Talks School Leavers program, participation in the industry-wide School Leaver Expos across Career Connections, and representation at the Board and Committee level with the Manufacturing Industry Skills Alliance (MISA).

“We know almost half of apprentices don’t complete their training period. This comes at longer-term costs to our industry in terms of skills availability as well as to the individual in terms of skills development. Getting the best outcomes from available government incentivisation and investment in apprenticeships is vital for businesses that take on an apprentice and to ensure we have the breadth and depth of skills our industry needs into the future. Through the use of member data, we can inform the governments review and push for systemic change to not only promote vocational training but to ensure a greater number of apprentices complete their training,” said Charles Watson, GM – IR, Policy and Governance, VMA.

MISA held its MISA Strategic Workforce Forum last week with the Hon. Minister O’Connor MP highlighting commitments required to apprentice training completion as a priority, currently completion rates are at a low 55% completion.

“With only 22% of our industry employing apprentices and low completion rates our ageing demographic is a growing issue to skills shortages, we must employ apprentices and support them through their studies. Ensuring our members are equipped with the skills to support apprentices and apprentices are supported, both financially and non-financially, to complete their studies are two key ways we can improve the low completion rates; having industry feedback across the skills needs will assist us in our advice into the Department,” added Northwood.

The industry is being called on to submit data via the VMA Skills Priority Survey with a 10th May deadline. The survey is open now, to submit your response, go to: VMA Skills Priority List Survey.

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