MS TIERNEY (Western Victoria—Minister for Training and Skills, Minister for Higher Education) (12:08): I rise today to discuss this government’s commitment to apprentices and the value of an apprenticeship. Members will be aware that in this year’s budget we are investing over $33 million in the Big Build apprenticeship program and almost $20 million in growing apprenticeships. Today, though, I would like to report back to the house on the ongoing measures from the 2018–19 budget that continue to have a positive impact for apprentices.
In 2018–19 the government invested $43 million in quality apprenticeships to drive job opportunities in the modern economy. This included reintroducing trade papers so Victorians who have done the hard yards to complete an apprenticeship can have their trade recognised. It is worth noting that the previous government valued trades so little that they abolished trade papers, taking away an important recognition of achievement. Not only did this government reintroduce trade papers; we made them free. If we are serious about vocational education being valued as much as a university qualification, then we need to give it the status it deserves.
I am pleased to report that so far around 4000 completing apprentices have been issued with trade papers, recognising the important transition from apprentice to tradesperson. I congratulate those 4000 apprentices and say to others completing apprenticeships, and those previously completed without trade papers, that they should apply. It costs nothing, but it gives you something to show your future employers and recognises all the hard work you have done. Display your trade papers. Frame them. Hang them in a place of pride. Be proud, be loud and know that your work is valued by the Andrews Labor government.