Apprenticeship numbers going down, down, down!

Article provided by The Daily Telegraph 3rd June 2015: “Apprentice numbers continue to plummet”.

The Daily Telegraph headling today was Gen WHY bother? The story went on to say that the apprenticeship system is in crisis and that ‘Bosses despair as apprentices find work too tough’.

None of this will come as a surprise to the smash repair industry, however many businesses are still reluctant to take on apprentices in the current business climate.

The number of people starting apprenticeships and traineeships declined by 21.9 per cent to 192,000 in 2014 compared with 2013.

According to data published by the National Centre for Vocational Education Research (NCVER), apprentices and trainees for the December quarter 2014 show that overall there were 316,400 apprentices and trainees in-training, a decrease of 18.3 per cent compared with December 31, 2013.

Comparing data from the year (to December 31, 2014) with 2013, the number of apprenticeship and traineeship:

commencements in trade occupations decreased 16.9 per cent;
commencements in non-trade occupations decreased 25.3 per cent;
completions decreased 17.8 per cent;
cancellations and withdrawals decreased by 7.6 per cent.

NCVER national manager of statistics and analytics, Dr Mette Creaser, said that in view of the subdued labour market conditions last year, fewer people commenced apprenticeships and traineeships.

“Taking into account the usual decrease in commencements in the December quarter because fewer employers put on apprentices and trainees at this time of year, the data indicates the rate of decline has slowed through the year,” Creaser said.

Commencements decreased 2.9 per cent in the December 2014 quarter compared with the final quarter of 2013.

Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ACCI) CEO, Kate Carnell, said urgent action is needed to get the apprenticeship system back on track.

Carnell said NCVER data for the December quarter shows that Australia has gone from having over 500,000 apprentices in training in 2012 to just over 300,000 today.

“This shows that apprenticeship numbers are still enduring the impact of changes made by the former federal government and largely kept in place by the current government,” she said.

“The reduction or elimination of training funding for apprenticeships by state governments has exacerbated the drop in apprenticeship numbers.

“There is a need for swift action on youth employment, with about 360,000 young Australians not actively engaged in work or study and apprenticeship numbers declining.”

ACCI’s director of employment, education and training, Jenny Lambert said the industry group has welcomed the announcement of youth-focused jobs programs in the recent Budget and the new Apprenticeship Support Network due to commence on July 1, 2015.

“But there needs to be a greater focus on getting young people into apprenticeships to give them a valued career and to meet Australia’s skills needs,” Lambert said.

“State and federal governments need to work with industry in targeting entry-level apprenticeships to provide tens of thousands of young people with a great start to their working life.”

Copies of the NCVER report are available from www.ncver.edu.au/publications/2790.html