The next Federal Government must work with business to reverse the dramatic slide in apprenticeship and traineeship numbers, the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry says.
The call came after National Centre for Vocational Education Research data showing the number of apprentices and trainees Australiawide fell 11.8 per cent last year compared to 2014.
“Four years ago there were 516,000 people undertaking apprenticeships and traineeships but today that number has fallen to 278,600. The continuation of this alarming trend reinforces an urgent need for targeted policy measures,” Australian Chamber chief executive officer James Pearson said.
“The Australian Chamber, the nation’s largest and most representative business network, has placed apprenticeships in its election policy blueprint, Top 10 in 10, which aims to reclaim Australia’s place in the top 10 most competitive nations with a decade.
“Our plan includes practical and achievable policy recommendations that should be implemented as a priority following the election. This includes improving the business case for employers to offer more apprenticeships and traineeships to young people, which will provide real work-based experience, on-the-job training and a start in the workforce.”
Overall 171,200 people started apprenticeships and traineeships in 2015, 10.1 per cent fewer than in 2014, according to the NCVER data.
The total included 88,800 non-trades commencements (17.9 per cent fewer than in 2014. While trade commencements were down 11.1 per cent in the December 2015 quarter compared with the December 2014 quarter, over the 2015 year there were 0.3 per cent more trade commencements than in 2014.
Rises were recorded in construction trade workers (up 4000 or 20.0 per cent), in particular in plumbers (up 1900 or 30.7 per cent) and bricklayers, carpenters and joiners (up 1300 or 12.3 per cent).