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Skills initiative well targeted: Ai Group

The Government’s promise to support 11,000 training places for students and professionals seeking a career in the Australian industry is “well targeted” and “timely”, according to Australian Industry Group chief executive, Heather Ridout.

“Australia’s structural skills shortage is one of the biggest constraints on our future growth,” she said.

According to Ridout, small- and medium-sized companies have bared the brunt during the financial downturn and have found it difficult to maintain tight training budgets and retain apprentice numbers.

“Indeed, recent Ai Group research found that overall, the uptake of new apprentices is expected to be down by 10.6 per cent over the current financial year and the number of apprentices in training will be down 5.9 per cent. For SMEs the percentages are higher,” she said.

“Working with industry and focusing on existing workers will ensure that workforce development and productivity will be at the forefront, which is vital.

“Combined with the Government’s recently announced additional support under the new apprenticeship Kickstart program, the measures will make a significant contribution to addressing future skills shortages.”

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