As part of its efforts to increase the supply of skills for its network roll-out, nbn will target school leavers with a new “Career Start” programme.
Funded through the company’s Industry Development Scheme, the Career Start programme will play a role in creating the approximately 2,000 new entrants into the telecommunications industry which nbn says it will need to meet the project’s estimated 4,500 person labour shortfall.
The remaining 2,500 are to come from existing or upskilled workers.
The CWU welcomes nbn’s explicit recognition of the skills shortages facing the NBN project, a recognition that has been long overdue.
The union remains concerned, however, about the forms of employment that will be available to those engaged on the project, especially vulnerable young trainees.
In line with the existing employment model being used by nbn, these newly trained workers will not be engaged by nbn but by its principal contractors who may in turn engage these workers as sub-contractors, not permanent employees.
This is a recipe for the exploitation of inexperienced young entrants into the telecommunications industry –the last thing the industry needs if Australia is to develop and stabilise its skill base in this sector.
The CWU will be seeking discussions with nbn about its training programme and the employment options available to those who participate in it.