AEN Joins Forces With Global Organisation GAN to Target Australian Youth Unemployment


GAN Australia Logo Landscape


Apprenticeships declining as the need for Australian skilled workers continues to grow.

Melbourne – 4 March 2019 –
Apprenticeship Employment Network (AEN) today announced it has joined Global Apprenticeship Network (GAN).  GAN brings together businesses to identify skill shortages where the apprenticeship model can help young people fulfill these shortfalls.  The move will support Australian companies in offering apprenticeship and traineeship opportunities, which have been on the decline.  Commencement numbers have been falling for the past four years and completion rates remain stubbornly low at the same time as Australia’s need for targeted, skilled workers continues to grow.

Gary Workman, AEN Executive Director, said, “Young people are not attracted into trades despite the fact that there are lots of job opportunities and the skills are greatly in demand.

More than 65% of our youth go straight into university from secondary school without understanding the employment and career pathway options that are available.  It’s concerning to see that only half of VET participants successfully complete their training and the number is similar for university students.

“Almost half (45%) of the total VET participants are existing workers who are more than 25 years old.  If we don’t take action soon, our training system will not be able to meet the country’s demand for skilled labour and many young people will miss out on opportunities for rewarding careers as tradespeople,” he added.

Dean Luciani, GAN Australia Chair, said, “It’s disappointing to see the number of apprenticeship vacancies grow, particularly in states like NSW where the number is up 150% from six months ago.  Yet we see youth unemployment and under employment numbers are still very high in many parts of Australia.  Of course this isn’t the only issue.  The nature of employment also continues to change with casualization, labour hire and sub-contracting.

“There is no long term vision to support youth and skill shortage industries.  Trades like automotive cannot find young people willing to work in that industry.  Part of the reason is the poor public perception of VET so some apprenticeship opportunities go unfulfilled in metro areas.  GAN brings countries together and we see that issues such as youth unemployment, an aging workforce and changes in technology and employer needs are common in many places around the world.”

This year Australia joins GAN along with Belgium, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Guatemala and Kenya, bringing the total number to 17 nations in the GAN network.  Globally, the biggest issues now are:

  • Attracting youth, parents and schools into apprenticeships
  • Improving completion rates for apprentices (currently at 50%)
  • Matching youth into current job vacancies and providing a career pathway (bricklaying, automotive mechanic – places where there are plenty of vacancies, but currently there is little or no youth interest
  • Supporting regional employers and communities to attract and retain their future workforce
  • Supporting employers and individuals with global technological and workforce changes

Apprenticeship programmes are vital to fulfilling employers’ needs in the future.

  • They ensure that trainings matches the needs within a company or industry.
  • The programmes keep employers and employees up-to-date with changes in technology, work practices, and market dynamics.
  • They link classrooms and workplace training so that young people acquire relevant skills.
  • They equip young people with critically important core skills, such as problem solving, teamwork, and communication.
  • They offer young people an income and real work experience .
  • They help young people clear the hurdle of having no job experience, a barrier that prevents many other graduates from securing their first job.

For further information about GAN Australia please visit the website that launched today.

 Media enquiries:

Amy Leiper: 0414 643 446