20/02/2014 - 13:56

Industry concern as apprentice numbers drop

20/02/2014 - 13:56

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A peak industry group says new data showing a drop in apprentice and trainee commencements is cause for concern and reflects continuing employer uncertainty about the state of the economy.

Industry concern as apprentice numbers drop

A peak industry group says new data showing a drop in apprentice and trainee commencements is cause for concern and reflects continuing employer uncertainty about the state of the economy.

The latest figures from the National Centre for Vocational Education Research reveal a 4 per cent fall in trade apprenticeship commencements in the December 2013 quarter to 26,400.

New trainee commencements were down more than 8 per cent to 38,800, which is a far cry from the 64,200 non-trade commencements in December 2011.

Australian Industry Group chief executive Innes Willox said the figures were disappointing given the importance of trade skills for future economic growth.

“These downward trends reflect continuing employer uncertainty about the state of the economy," he said.

"It also reinforces the urgent need to reform the apprentice and VET system to make it more appealing to both potential apprentices/trainees and employers.

“The government needs to take urgent action to ensure Australia continues to develop the trade skills base which is vital for our future."

Mr Willox has called on the federal government to reinstate its $57.5 million Kickstart initiative, which provides incentive payments of $3,350 for eligible apprentices.

He also wants the government to guarantee joint group training funding in the upcoming federal budget.

STANDING BY BUSINESS. TRUSTED BY BUSINESS.

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