Fast-track apprentices a short-term solution



MOVES to help apprentices complete their training faster have been supported by local Gladstone tradespeople, but they warn it's only a short-term solution.

Sparkman's Cabinets and Joinery owner David Sparkman said fast-tracking apprenticeships would create tradespeople who were not fully qualified.

'They would be able to do an apprenticeship and then later do more modules to become fully accredited, which means they'd get into the workplace sooner but they wouldn't be as qualified,' he said.

At a Council of Australian Governments (COAG) meeting yesterday, Prime Minister John Howard proposed to shorten the time taken to achieve a trade.

'Certainly in some cases people argue that four years is too long and it could go down to three,' he said.

'That's something that we need to get a bit of advice on, but there's a general feeling that they're a bit too long.''

Mr Sparkman said he believed it was a short-term solution and in the long-term tradespeople would still have to be trained in the full aspect of their trade.

'All trades have different components, so for instance an electrician can do either commercial or residential work, but if they were to fasttrack apprenticeships, they might only be certified to do residential work,'' he said.

Second-year cabinetmaking apprentice Michael Stanbury said he believed apprenticeships should be shortened.

'If you work in a work placement before you start your apprenticeship, then it should be shorter,' he said.

He said the low wage was an issue, but government assistance was available.

'I'm renting, and with that and fuel and food it can get a bit hard,' he said.



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