Tuesday, August 28, 2007

457 and Apprentices

Fairfax had a big run on the 457 schemes and the abuses of the system (including deaths etc). See here, here, here, here, and here.

Whilst travelling home I heard an excerpt of an interview with Virginia Triolli of ABC Sydney where she talked with a baker who complained he just couldn't find the staff. The baker claimed he'd spent several thousand dollars recruiting to no avail, gone OS, and directly recruited on the 457 scheme. The reason why was apprentices in Oz didn't stick it out.

Finally he said why.

'Cause apprentices get paid less than nine bucks an hour,' he said. Yep, apprentices get less than minimum wage. There used to be a time when you did pay your way in a new trade because you were being taught on the job. But many of these people are working hard and long hours from the get go and are not being given a living wage. So instead of importing over skilled immigrants who have to work at jobs beneath them why not pay apprentices the very least minimum wage? Why is it these poor bastards have to choose between a better paying job with less skills development and a job with good skills development but where they have to live in a shitty group house for four years on two minute noodles or camp at mum and dads?

Pay them more and they just might stay.


  1. When I worked for a Training Scheme, I was always stunned at how little the apprentices were paid.

    Particularly when you also take into consideration that, depending on the trade (and it is most of them), they have to buy safety equipment, tools, and so on. Sure, they get subsidised, but not very much.

  2. Not so much that he volunteered the reasons why his apprentices kept leaving, but that the interviewer finally got around to asking him why they left, to which his reply was not so much to answer the question honestly but to say:
    "well these apprentices want everything straight away"

    I suspect the guy's a complete arsehole, who probably treats his workers with contempt. It certainly got me thinking, especially when it was revealed that people being imported on 457 Work Visas can be employed, legally, at rates well below the award. It is pure evil in action and Australians are either ignoring it completely whilst they fawn over big business or taking it up with a determined gutso. There were 40,000 457 Work visas issued last year, this year it is expected to go up to 100,000 ie 2000 per week. Skills shortage, my foot. Source of cheap labour much more likely.

  3. That about sums it up. An apprentice wage is not a living wage- nowhere near. But these wages are set by people who have no idea what it's like to live off that kind of money.

  4. That sucks. Really. Sucks.


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