2SM Breakfast - More NSW school students into trades as a career, VETiS Framework

  • Assistant Minister for Education

GRANT GOLDMAN:      Grant Goldman with you, good morning.  Nine minutes after eight.  How did you get into the workforce?  Did you start work straight out of school?  I did, after I got kicked out of school.

They said education's not for you.  My mother wrote out my application and they said, based on your brilliant application, we're going to give you a job.  So thank you mum.

But yesterday we told you about the Australian Defence Force gap year scheme, which I think is absolutely brilliant.  Year twelve graduates, ones that are in year twelve now, will be encouraged to enrol in the military for a year, without an obligation for a longer commitment.  Brilliant.

They'll be paid for it, forty five thousand dollars a year to become riflemen, drivers, administration clerks and supply coordinators in the Army or security officers in the Air Force.  What an experience.

But this morning, we've been told about taking up a career in trades and training is needed if the nation is to tackle current skill shortages.  So we're doing our bit.

New South Wales needs more school students taking up a career in trades and training if the nation is to tackle current skill shortages.

The federal Assistant Minister for Education, Sussan Ley, joins us on the line to explain more.

Good morning, Sussan.

SUSSAN LEY:              Good morning, Grant.

GRANT GOLDMAN:      Yeah, this is fantastic.  You say that just point-five per cent of fifteen to nineteen year olds in New South Wales were enrolled in school based apprenticeships.  That's equating to just one in every two hundred.  That's not good enough, is it?

SUSSAN LEY:              It's not good enough when you think of how many of our fifteen to nineteen year olds probably will go on to work in a trade and what a great pathway it is for them.  The fact that we've only one in two hundred actually enrolled at school, in trades training, is - it's too low.

So I'm out in Penrith today with local member, Fiona Scott.  We're having a roundtable, it's a New South Wales focus and it's all part of this national approach that I am taking to raising participation in the trades and training and raising the profile of it as a really first class pathway.

GRANT GOLDMAN:      Yeah, we've done something wrong here, if you think about it, because if there's only one in every two hundred applying here - and you've got to take into account the range of skill shortages in the state, there'd be plasterers, plumbers, bricklayers, electricians, tilers, painters and carpenters.  We're looking in The Telegraph this morning, people pleading for those with experience.

SUSSAN LEY:              That's right.  The building trades are desperately looking for students and it's not easy to put together something that works for the student in school and out in the workplace.


SUSSAN LEY:              I mean, one of the things we need to recognise is that employers want a block release, not one day a week, to get your on-the-job training done all at once rather than just every now and then.  And that doesn't fit into the school timetable so well.

But we can overcome these difficulties and the most important thing we have to focus on is that the student training meets the industry, the employer, expectations.


SUSSAN LEY:              Because too often we see a student coming out with a qualification that's not really worth anything because employers don't want it and the student hasn't had proper on-the-job training.


SUSSAN LEY:              So it's vital that we get that right and it's vital that we recognise too, careers advisors don't always tell kids that the trades and training are a good pathway and…

GRANT GOLDMAN:      [Interrupts] Well, I'm not a big fan of…

SUSSAN LEY:              …they are.

GRANT GOLDMAN:      I'm not a big fan of career advisors, in all honesty, in the school.  They've spent too much time in the school system and they don't properly appraise people and, in all honesty, what you've got to do is encourage those to have a good look at all industries, to find something that's going to suit them, something they love and they can make a career of it.

SUSSAN LEY:              Absolutely because if you leave school and you don't know where you're going, if you're out of work for eighteen months, you're one of the most difficult people in the country to find a job.

Some people think it's seniors, some people thinks it's one or other of our groups but it's actually young people who've never worked.


SUSSAN LEY:              We've got to identify the right pathway in school and we've got to convince a lot of people, I think, that this is in no ways the B team.  I mean I started my career in TAFE and training, onto doing something applied, and then much later in life went to university.

GRANT GOLDMAN:      What did you do?

SUSSAN LEY:              I was actually a pilot, so…

GRANT GOLDMAN:      Were you?

SUSSAN LEY:              Yeah and I still am, licensed and dangerous as I like to say.

GRANT GOLDMAN:      [Laughs]

SUSSAN LEY:              But the actual formal qualifications came from sitting in a TAFE classroom to get that skill and that's a skill that never leaves you.


SUSSAN LEY:              That's the point about training and trades.  It's a skill that you have for life.

GRANT GOLDMAN:      That's true.

SUSSAN LEY:              It's extremely valuable and you can build on it.

GRANT GOLDMAN:      No doubt that we need more tradies in this country.  In fact, if you think about it, a tradie just won the gold Logie.  So I mean, you could do anything as a tradesman.

SUSSAN LEY:              You certainly can and young people are going to have many more, more than one career in their life.  They're going to move from one thing to another.  So with the shortage we've got, with the opportunities that trades present, we're going to increase the focus.

GRANT GOLDMAN:      Well done.  Good luck in Penrith today.

SUSSAN LEY:              Many thanks.

GRANT GOLDMAN:      Thank you, Sussan.  Sussan Ley, the federal Assistant Minister for Education.

Tradies, where are they?  That's shocking.

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