Hon. Brendan O’Connor
Minister for Skills and Training
Commonwealth of Australia
Chief Executive Officer (LATAM), Nestle
Chair, GAN Global
The Future of Apprenticeships conference was held in Melbourne between the 5-7 February and 8-9 February in Auckland 2023: The conference was attended by over 170 delegates, with 32 speakers from 6 countries with the aim of sharing perspectives from Switzerland, New Zealand and Australia striving for excellence in apprenticeships. Connecting like-minded international collaborators, government stakeholders, industry participants, group training organisations and educational institutions to build stronger relationships and areas for future collaboration.
The aims of the conference were to:
- Critically examine and reimagine the current apprenticeship system in Australia, drawing on successful experiences in Switzerland and New Zealand
- Ensure that people that take up apprenticeships in Australia achieve success in their chosen field
- Explore best practice, policies and programs that can future-proof our current skills supply and manage the varying demands on our labour market
- Stimulate 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
The following activities have been identified by the conference organising committee as potential further work the organisations would like to follow up on.
- Investigate and establish apprentice exchange and educational cooperation programs for apprentices and VET practitioners between Switzerland, New Zealand and Australia.
- Establish future opportunities to bring together other VET/ Apprenticeship stakeholders through conferences/ and other events to expand the knowledge and capability of the sector.
- Research themes that the GAN could explore further and partner with industry stakeholder include;
- What is a Quality Employer / Apprenticeship
- What support is needed to enable greater inclusion & 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
- Continue the conference organising committee as a “Future of Apprenticeships” steering committee
- GAN Australia will re-establish our local steering committee (now that COVID-19 has subsided) with Quarterly meetings. Employers, Governments, VET Researchers and industry stakeholders are welcome to join the group.
Over the next 3 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.