Julia Gillard wants to force students to stay in school longer, or to undertake skills training.
Keeping kids in school/university may be good for the unemployment numbers' bottom line, but it's not good for the kids who are not academically minded.
Raising caps on university places... what's that going to do? We're having trouble accommodating some larger courses in rooms for lectures... although it would mean that the popular courses would fill up - there are only so many places you can give students at university in many courses, universities just don't have the facilities for unlimited class/course sizes.
I suggest the government concentrate on helping school leavers who wish to do a trade, although it seems the plans they have now with subsidised apprentices are open to too much abuse by employers who pay apprentice wages to a subsidised employee and use them as a labourer. And then, just before the subsidy runs out, the "apprentice" finds he's not an apprentice any more because the boss has decided that he "hasn't the aptitude" (when this kid's been stacking wood for weeks, getting blisters on his hands, and has barely learnt anything from the "apprenticeship" because he hasn't been taught, which is the point of an apprenticeship).
Small businesses, like builders, chippies, plumbers, and sparkies can not afford to employ apprentices as apprentices need constant supervision and training for the first year or two. A builder contracting to build a house only factors in a certain percentage of the cost as his wages, and the wages of any other persons who he employs to help in the build. The builder can not afford to lose manhours teaching as this will lower his per hour profit. It would be the same with many small businesses which are trade focused.
My father had a business many years ago, a partnership. The partner robbed him blind and sent the business broke. All the creditors came after my father, he was the one who owned property and goods, unlike the partner who owned nothing, and even took the company ute! But that's another story. Dad had an apprentice who he trained, and who he found another apprenticeship for when the business folded - I don't think that the apprentice was indentured. This was in about 1977. The days of small businesses being able to support trainees are gone now.
And this idea is just utter rubbish. The problem with school leavers being unable to read, comprehend and/or do mathematics lies not with the length of time spent at school. It's with the teachers and perhaps with what passes for curriculum and curriculum outcomes and teaching methods these days.
Remember, everyone's a winner these days, noone fails. This prepares none for real life.