A Minns Labor Government will commit $93.7 million to hire an additional 1,000 apprentices and trainees across the NSW Government by 2026 – to tackle the NSW skills shortage and get young people into work.

Labor will set targets across the NSW Government to make sure 1,000 NSW learners have the opportunity to undertake on-the-job training in places like Sydney Water, Essential Energy, National Parks and Wildlife Services, Homes NSW and the NSW Energy Security Corporation.

This is on top of 200 apprentices to be hired through Labor’s commitment to build the next fleet of Tangaras in NSW – and the 1,000 to be trained each year in our Manufacturing Centres of Excellence.

The decline in NSW education and skills under the Liberals means more than a quarter of students now leave school without completing their HSC – the lowest rate of any mainland state and 10 per cent worse than Victoria. 

Labor’s announcement will target the ‘25 per cent’, alongside others who have left the workforce such as women returning to work after maternity leave.

Apprenticeships are an important route into the job market for young people who choose not to complete the HSC.

The new commitment will help rebuild opportunities for young people and those without formal qualifications. 

It sits alongside Labor’s plans to save NSW’s crippled TAFE system – which now has 140,000 fewer enrolments compared to 2011 – and reverse the state’s decline in manufacturing jobs.

Under the Liberals:

  • NSW has lost 42,000 manufacturing jobs in the same time that Vic only lost 27,000 and QLD gained 6,000.
  • What’s more, we’ve missed out on 4,000 more jobs due to offshoring.
  • Since 2011, over 5,400 TAFE staff have disappeared – one third of the workforce.
  • Since 2012, 14 TAFE campuses have been sold, and another 17 are planned for sale.
  • The number of people finishing apprenticeships or traineeships each year has more than halved – from 52,700 in 2011 to 25,000 in 2022. 

This is just one step in Labor’s plan to rebuild NSW’s skills and vocational education system. Labor has already announced:

  • A Guarantee of a minimum of 70 per cent of the vocational education budget goes to TAFE – once a force to be reckoned with but crippled by the Liberals – helping resolve the statewide skills shortage.
  • A comprehensive review of the vocational education system in NSW to determine the full impact of cuts and establish a path forward to rebuilding TAFE.
  • Investment in domestic manufacturing – by creating three TAFE centres of excellence in the Hunter, the Illawarra and Western Sydney to train 1,000 workers each year.  
  • A guarantee a Labor Government won’t sell off any more campuses.

Quotes attributable to Chris Minns, NSW Labor leader: 

“We have a skills shortage in NSW.” 

“Labor will boost the value of vocational education and TAFE and ensure we build the skilled workforce NSW needs - and we’ll hire them too.” 

“We want to give more young people more opportunities to learn new skills, to get good paying jobs and to begin to fill the skills shortage.”

“With Labor, we can skill up NSW.” 

Quotes attributable to Tim Crakanthorp, NSW Shadow Minister for Skills and TAFE:

“Labor will walk its talk and make sure young people have opportunities for skilled jobs within our own government.”

“We know how valuable apprenticeships and traineeships are, and how they can set people up for life.”

“Apprentice and trainee numbers have plummeted under the Liberals and Nationals; Labor will reverse this trend and give our young people the opportunities they deserve.”