SA Government announces major funding agreement for 20,000 new apprenticeships and traineeships

MELROSE Park engineering consultancy company Dematec says it will be one of many SA businesses to benefit from the state government’s new apprenticeship program.

Nearly $200 million will be invested to support an additional 20,000 work-based apprenticeships and traineeships over the next four years.

Premier Steven Marshall said $87 million had been secured from the Federal Government’s Skilling Australians Fund to complement $100 million of state government funding.

SA is the first state to sign-up to the $1.5 billion Skilling Australians Fund to be paid for by a special charge on skilled migrant visas.

He said negotiations are underway to secure further federal government skills funding.

During the election campaign, the Liberals promised $100 million from SA taxpayers, to be matched by Canberra, as part of a program aimed at averting a “skills crisis” and ensuring that enough young people were trained to take advantage of a defence boon.

“This investment is a significant shot in the arm for our state’s skills training sector and will help ensure more South Australians are job-ready for key growth industries such as defence.’’

Delivering on one of his 100-day promises, he said the apprenticeships are vital to building a skilled supply of workers for industry.

There were 14,725 apprentices and trainees in-training in SA at the end of last year — down from 30,690 in 2013, according to data from the National Centre for Vocational Education and Research.

In May, The Advertiser reported on an eight per cent drop in apprentices and training in one year.

South Australia’s Training and Skills Commission 2017 Annual Report, tabled in State Parliament, showed last year there were 15,700 apprentices and trainees in training from 17,100 the year before.

The Premier and Industry and Skills Minister David Pisoni announced the funding at Dematec Automation’s Melrose Park facility.

Premier Steven Marshall with MP David Pisoni and Dematec CEO David Hart.

Premier Steven Marshall speaks to Dematec worker Peter Ienari at Dematec Automation at Melrose Park.

Dematec founder Mark Stevens on Thursday said the company, which supplies industrial automation, robotics and process control systems to small and large companies in Australia and overseas, was”crying out for apprentices.”

“We have no idea how we are going to supply labour. The last (future) frigate’s going to be launched in 2048.

“Most of the people that are going to work on it are either in nappies or not born yet. This (skills program) is going to lay a very strong foundation.”

Dematec said it worked with first, second and third tier companies on building control systems as suppliers to major projects.

“It’s the foundation (training) for the frigates (contract) that will infiltrate all over SA and indeed Australia,” Mr Stevens said.

Dematec Automation’s Industrial internet of Things (IIoT) platform is at work in the $21.4m Gawler Water Reuse Scheme (GWRS) project, which delivers secure a 3G communications platform for the remote operation and control of the network.

It has also delivered robotic irrigation fitting assembly cells to local pipe fittings company Philmac’s to help automatically assemble hundreds of variants of irrigation fittings in different sizes.

Dematec was founded in 1990 by Mark and Denise Stevens and the business is now jointly owned by chief executive David Hart and managing director Tim Bubb.

Employers and apprentices can access the skills program from July.

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