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Decline in trade commencements for trainees and apprentices

21 December, 2016

The latest release of apprentice and trainee data show there were 282 900 apprentices and trainees in-training as at 30 June 2016, a decrease of 7.8% from 30 June 2015.

The data, published by the National Centre for Vocational Education Research (NCVER), provides a picture of apprenticeship and traineeship activity nationally and by state and territory.

Overall 39 900 people started apprenticeships and traineeships in the June 2016 quarter, a decline of 2.1% compared with the same period last year. This reflects a decline in trade commencements, down 17.3% to 15 900.

Non-trade commencements, however, increased by 11.3% to 24 000 over this time. Occupations recording increases include sales assistants and sales persons (up 900); construction and mining labourers (up 400); and carers and aides (up 300).

Australian vocational education and training statistics: Apprentices and trainees 2016, June quarter is available from:

This work has been produced by NCVER on behalf of the Australian Government and state and territory governments, with funding provided through the Department of Education and Training.

NCVER is the national custodian of data about Australia's VET system, including apprentice and trainee data. It is a not-for-profit, independent company owned by the Commonwealth, state and territory Ministers responsible for training.

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Hedley | Thursday, January 12, 2017, 4:38 AM
My industry is doing the sums in employing apprentices so that we can get a better understanding of why we have problems finding and retaining the "right" apprentices. Check this out: My business operates 260 days this year. Take off the twenty days annual leave, Take off the ten public holidays (Victoria). Take off the thirty four days at TAFE and allow the eight days sick leave days and we have 260 less (20+34+10+8) = 188 days of production. Now consider the time spent in training an apprentice on the job. Every hour of training has one of our key staff doing the training and that means no production from him. My best estimate is a loss of one & half hours per day from the key man. At $115.00 per hour that comes to 188 by 115 at 70% efficiency = $15K approx. for the year to cover in-house training. Add to this the low efficiency of a young person, early in their apprenticeship, working on a machine or using plant typically costing $50K to $100K, and I am starting to understand my problem. Apprentices are very expensive, some say uneconomic for small engineering firms, to employ. Now here's a thought: What if I do all the training in-house? there goes 34 days to now give me 188 + 34 = 222 production days. Then I use some of that extra earnings to my business to give the apprentice a good raise for each year. I could even consider self-paced learning to shorten the training period and again give the apprentice some more dollars. Why, that could even solve the on-going complaint that apprentices are "poorly" done by. There: problem solved. Except that I cannot issue trade papers at the end of the training. Why not? Looking into that also. Any supporters out there?
jason | Thursday, August 10, 2017, 6:23 AM
Your right Apprentices do have less productivity, do make more mistakes but where are you going to get your trades people from in the future, to run your machinery? It's important to remember we had to start somewhere and someone has taken a chance on us. I feel that external training is critical to the development of young apprentices as a small engineering firm we cannot expose them to all areas of the trade, not only what our company does.
Frank | Thursday, August 31, 2017, 6:13 AM
Hi Hedley I may be able to point you in the right direction so you can have trade papers issued.