Media Release: Celebrating 20 years of support for Australian Apprenticeships

May 30, 2018

The Hon Karen Andrews MP

Assistant Minister for Vocational Education and Skills

This month marks 20 years of Australian Government support for apprenticeships. From 1998, when New Apprenticeship Centres were first opened, to today over 2.5 million Australian Apprentices have completed their training.

Assistant Minister for Vocational Education and Skills, Karen Andrews, said this milestone represented 20 years of apprentices following their dreams.

“The apprenticeship is a key foundation of the education sector and the economy,” Minister Andrews said.

“Over the last 20 years the Government has provided over $9 billion to assist businesses to take on apprentices. This is important because an apprenticeship means hands on practical training, and an apprenticeship also means employment.

“There’s no better way for someone to gain the skills they need to succeed than through an apprenticeship, and there’s no better way for businesses to gain the skilled workforce they need. That’s why I’m proud we have supported apprentices to gain real skills for real careers for the last 20 years.”

In July 2015, the Australian Apprenticeship Support Network was introduced as a new system for supporting apprentices. Funded at up to $190 million a year, the Network operates across more than 400 locations and offers targeted support for employers and apprentices through quality pre-commencement advice and in-training support throughout the apprenticeship.

A further enhancement was the introduction of the Australian Apprenticeships Ambassadors program - apprentices and trainees who know first-hand the value in investing in an Australian Apprenticeship and are available to promote this valuable career pathway.

Minister Andrews said she looked forward to what the next 20 years would bring.

“As we begin to build industry 4.0 the nature of work will continue to change, as trends towards automation, cloud computing and AI development continues, the skills workers will need will also change,” Minister Andrews said.

“But changes to the nature of work have always occurred, and the apprenticeship has always stood the test of time. Going forward apprenticeships will continue to play a pivotal role, and apprentices and businesses will continue to receive government support.”

Learn more about Australian Apprenticeships at