Training — Youth Training and Employment Strategy

The Australian Dental Industry Association (ADIA), the peak business organisation representing manufacturers and suppliers of quality dental products, and the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (AusChamber), are gravely concerned about the plight of Australia's young people, and have produced Learning to Work to focus attention on the rising number of young Australians aged under twenty-four who are officially unemployed or disengaged from working or learning.

There are 3.1 million Australians aged between fifteen and twenty-four, and recent data tells us some half-million are not in full or part time work or study. This is an alarming figure. It tells us we are not doing enough to help our young people become engaged in our society. Business and government need to work together.

ADIA and AusChamber are calling on governments, both state and federal, to tackle the problem holistically with a Learning to Work program which is more efficient and effective than the existing programs, some of which have been defunded or may soon be. Learning to Work contains specific recommendations for the 2014 budget, and makes recommendations to governments, both federal and state, using a 'helping hand' approach which includes five elements.

Five key policy reform priorities

  • Career development;
  • Work ready graduates inclusive of a focus on literacy and numeracy;
  • Apprenticeships and traineeships;
  • Employer-facing employment services; and
  • More suitable workplace regulation.

The Learning to Work document draws attention to the fact that the commencements for apprenticeships for the under nineteen year olds are now at their lowest level since 2001, dropping from a high point of over 120,000 commencements to under 90,000.

ADIA and AusChamber have recommended that state and federal governments work with industry on targeting key entry level apprenticeships to provide tens of thousands of young people with a great start to their working life. Learning to Work also includes recommendations about the need for minimum literacy and numeracy requirements for school leavers, taking the pressure off increases in junior rates and apprenticeship wages rates, and adapting the Work for the Dole scheme in part or full to incorporate structured training relevant to the work experience being undertaken borrowing from the successful apprenticeship model so as to provide the young people with experience and skills.

Further information on this initiative

  • AusChamber Learning To Work Strategy [PDF]

Policy decisions by the Australian Government over 1997 to 2003 to reduce apprenticeship incentives, and of state governments which has seen funding support for training in key entry level occupations fall dramatically have done young Australians no favours. The union movement also continues to harm the chances of young people being competitive in the job market by seeking wage increases for apprentices and juniors. These early years of a person's working life are relatively short and increasing junior and apprenticeship rates is short-sighted, as it is far more likely to lead to more young people missing out to older job seekers who have more life or work experiences.

Member Engagement

DIA provides leadership, strategy, advocacy, and support. Our members set our agenda, fund our activities, and directly benefit from the results. With respect to the dental industry's support for the AusChamber Learning To Work Initiative, the team the ADIA national office receive advice and guidance from members serving on the ADIA-ISC Industry Skills Committee and the ADIA-BAC Business Affairs Committee.

Further Information

If you have an interest in ADIA's work to help businesses across the dental industry up-skill their workforce, to keep up to date subscribe to the Twitter feed @AusDental or follow us on Facebook at Alternatively, you can contact the Association via email at or by telephone on 1300 943 094.

This information is available for your use under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Australia licence, with the exception of the ADIA logo, other images and where otherwise stated.