MS TIERNEY (Western Victoria—Minister for Training and Skills, Minister for Higher Education) (12:24): On 15 May I announced the retrenched apprentices and trainees program, a collaboration between the Victorian government and the Apprenticeship Employment Network, the peak body of group training organisations here in Victoria. History tells us that at times like these, hard economic times, apprentices and trainees are amongst the most vulnerable when it comes to losing work. Early indications show that more than 850 Victorian apprentices and trainees have had their training contracts put on hold due to the impacts of coronavirus.
President, I do not have to remind you of the devastating impact of the loss of a job, but when it is combined with the prospect of being unable to study as well, that takes a real toll on an apprentice. That is why we are taking action to support apprentices, to keep them studying and to get them back to work. Through this program we have set up a register for retrenched apprentices and trainees that will assist them to stay engaged with their training and place them with an appropriate employer. If these apprentices cannot be matched with a new employer straightaway, we want them to continue their studies, particularly at TAFE, so that they are well placed to resume work as we start to recover from the virus.
The register is up and running; it is at aen.org.au/outoftrade. Employers can also register on the site, making the process of matching them with displaced apprentices easier. I urge all apprentices and trainees who have lost their work due to the current crisis to take advantage of this program to help them keep learning, return to work and actually get a real job that takes them into the future.