The Victorian government has established Apprenticeships Victoria, a new body aiming to help individuals begin their career or further develop their skills by connecting apprentices and trainees with job opportunities.
On Tuesday, Acting premier James Merlino and skills minister Gayle Tierney met with apprentices at the Metro Tunnel site in Kensington to celebrate the metropolitan launch of the agency.
The agency will coordinate and oversee all aspects of the delivery of apprenticeships, including by providing a point of contact for those who are completing an apprenticeship, removing barriers for students and workers looking to upskill, and creating “better pathways to the workforce”, Merlino and Tierney said in a statement.
The agency will also oversee initiatives such as the $33 million Big Build Apprenticeships program, announced in last year’s budget.
Under the program, Victorian apprentices and trainees will receive 1,500 opportunities each year for four years to work on some of the state’s largest projects, including the new Footscray Hospital, North East Link, and Warrnambool Learning and Library Hub.
At least 10% of the construction hours on these projects will be completed by apprentices and trainees. Workers who have been impacted by COVID-19, disadvantaged Victorians, and those who are under-represented in the construction industry will receive priority.
Tierney said the projects would give apprentices and trainees “real-life learning opportunities”, and called on anyone who is interested in working in the construction industry to sign up.
A walk-in Apprenticeships Victoria hub will open in the CBD in the coming months.
Merlino said the new body and major projects would “deliver a pipeline of opportunities” for both people who are at the start of their career and those who want to reskill.
“A strong skills and training sector is vital to our economy and recovery from the coronavirus pandemic — that’s why we’re backing it with initiatives like this,” he said.
This article was first published by The Mandarin.