PaTH internship program draws support and criticism

by L&D01 Jun 2016
As part of the 2016 Budget, the Coalition announced the Youth Jobs PaTH (Prepare-Trial-Hire) program with the aim of helping young people get into labour market through intensive pre-employment skills training.

It will involve up to 120,000 internships for young people to gain real work experience and an increased wage subsidy for employers who take on the young job seekers.

The program has been met with both intense criticism and support from certain businesses.
“The Motor Trades Association of Australia Limited (MTAA), representing more than 60,000 automotive businesses nationwide, and Choices Flooring, a national flooring retailer have signalled their intention to assist young Australians under the program,” said the Treasurer Scott Morrison in a statement.
The program has also been backed by not for profit groups such as the Brotherhood of St Laurence, the Council of Small Business Australia and mental health advocate and former Australian of the Year Professor Patrick McGorry AO.

However, unions and the Labor Party are concerned PaTH poses a risk to young people and inexperienced workers.

For instance, the ACTU argues that it could undermine Australia’s entire wage system with interns earning only $4 an hour - which could harm pay and conditions for all workers.

ACTU Secretary Dave Oliver recently said that the Turnbull Government is relying on "obfuscation and misdirection", and hoping that the Australian people "don’t realise the damage this government really wants to inflict on workers until it’s too late".

“PaTH would be a disaster, not only for the young people it would exploit directly, but for anyone in a low-paid job who would experience crushing downward pressure on their wages as the bottom is torn out of the employment market, said Oliver.

“People are understandably receptive to any plan to get young people into jobs, but once the draconian details of this attack on all workers become clear, any support the coalition has for this scheme evaporates.”

The Government has launched a web portal for employers to register their interest for the program –

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