The Future of Apprenticeships

The Future of Apprenticeships conference was held in Melbourne between the 5-7 February and in Auckland on 8-9 February 2023. The conference was attended by over 170 delegates, with 32 speakers from 6 countries including Switzerland, New Zealand and Australia. Speakers shared perspectives on excellence in apprenticeships, and two workshops allowed all participants to get involved with their local understanding of excellence.

The Future of Apprenticeships conference connected like-minded international collaborators, government stakeholders, industry participants, group training organisations and educational institutions to build stronger relationships and areas for future collaboration.

Hon. Brendan O’Connor
Minister for Skills and Training
Commonwealth of Australia

Laurent Friexe
Chief Executive Officer (LATAM), Nestle
Chair, GAN Global

Nazrene Mannie
Executive Director
GAN Global

About the conference

The aims of the conference were to learn from international perspectives and determine what could work better in Australia, by:

  • Critically examining and reimaging the apprenticeship system in Australia, drawing on successful experiences in Switzerland and New Zealand.
  • Exploring ways to ensure that people who take up apprenticeships in Australia achieve success in their chosen field.
  • Exploring best practice, policies and programs that can future proof our current skills supply and manage the varying demands on our labour market.
  • Stimulating industry interest to engage with new and innovative apprenticeships that will meet our future economic needs and explore opportunities to develop the industry leaders of tomorrow.

As part of the Auckland conference, a delegation of 17 Australian delegates also visited a number of New Zealand government agencies to better understand the current New Zealand VET reform. Key conference themes over the 10 days included:

  • ILO and the global value of Apprenticeships.
  • The Victorian governments value of Apprenticeships.
  • The Swiss dual VET / education system.
  • School to work apprenticeship models.
  • Swiss apprenticeships / VET mobility opportunities.
  • Future Apprenticeship / VET research opportunities for collaboration.
  • Activities to increase employer participation in apprenticeships.
  • How to support greater diversity into apprenticeships.
  • The Australian and New Zealand GTO apprenticeship intermediary models.
  • Digital skills and higher apprenticeships.

Next steps

Following the conference, the international organising committee have identified themes for potential future work and collaboration.

Theme 1: Investigate and establish an apprentice exchange and educational cooperation program for apprentices and VET practitioners between Switzerland, New Zealand and Australia.

Theme 2: Establish future opportunities to bring together other VET and apprenticeship stakeholders through conferences and other events, to expand the knowledge and capability of the sector.

Theme 3: Explore options for research that GAN could undertake themselves or in partnership with industry stakeholders:

  • What is a Quality Employer or Apprenticeship?
  • What support is needed to enable greater inclusion and diversity?
  • Perceptions on Apprenticeships, career decision making.
  • School to work transitions.
  • Apprenticeship Data on completions / University completions / long term career paths / where do they go?
  • What employers are doing to support apprentices / how engaged are employers with the VET systems.
  • Employer supervisor skills and training needs.

Theme 4: Continue the conference organising committee as a “Future of Apprenticeships” steering committee.

Theme 5: GAN Australia will re-establish our local steering committee with quarterly meetings. Employers, Governments, VET researchers and industry stakeholders are welcome to join the group.

Over the coming months the organising committee will prioritise the above activities and develop an action plan to identify other potential stakeholders and commence work. It is envisaged that a “Future of Apprenticeships” committee will annually report on the progress of this work to the Global Apprenticeship Network.


VET Research Workshop

Dr Peta Skujins, AATIS

Policies and Practices to increase employer participation in Apprenticeships

Dr Lisa Fowkes, Social Ventures

Opportunities for VET Collaboration

Erik Swars, SFUVET

Opportunities for VET Collaboration

Dr Patrizia Hasler, TBZ

Future Opportunities

Gary Workman, AEN

Future Cooperation Activities and Cooperative Partnerships

Jose Oberson Mau, Movetia

Digital Higher Apprenticeships – Examples of apprenticeships being applied to the fourth Industrial Revolution

Meena Naidu, Apprenticeships Victoria

The Swiss Dual VET system – a public-private-partnership

Erik Swars, SFUVET

The importance of vocational education and training

Craig Robertson, Victorian Skills Authority

The importance of vocational education and training – a global perspective

Akiko Sakamoto, ILO

Swiss international VET mobility model

Olivier Tschopp, Movetia

Supporting Diversity groups

Maretha Smit, Diversity Works NZ and Katherine Hall, ConCOVE

International Quality Apprenticeship Framework

Scott Barklamb, ACCI

Lessons from the modernization of vocational education in Switzerland & Australia

Prof John Buchanan

Photo Gallery