Apprenticeship and traineeship numbers continue to decline

Apprentice bricklayer
Apprentice bricklayer

National Centre for Vocational Education Research (NCVER) figures released yesterday show the number of people starting an apprenticeship or traineeship has continued to decline.

There was also a decline in the number of apprentices and trainees in-training, with 265,000 in-training as at 31 December 2016, a decrease of 4.5% from 31 December 2015.

This latest release of quarterly data also shows an overall decrease in the number of commencements, completions and cancellations and withdrawals, compared with the December quarter 2015.


In-training as at 31 December 2016

There were 265,000 apprentices and trainees in-training as at 31 December 2016, a decrease of 4.5% from 31 December 2015.

Quarterly training activity

In the December quarter 2016, compared with the December quarter 2015:

  • commencements decreased by 6.5%, to 33,800
  • completions decreased by 11.8%, to 27,900
  • cancellations and withdrawals decreased by 4.7%, to 22,900

Training activity: 12-month ending series

In the 12 months ending 31 December 2016, compared with the 12 months ending 31 December 2015:

  • commencements decreased by 2.9%, to 167,100
  • completions decreased by 16.1%, to 99,000
  • cancellations and withdrawals decreased by 2.6%, to 93,700

BUSY At Work CEO Paul Miles said the apprenticeship system is reaching its lowest in 10 years.

“The decline in full time employment and trend towards part time has direct correlation to the decline we are seeing in our apprenticeship signups.

“In order for us to have a robust economy it is vital Australia has a skilled and knowledgeable workforce and the Australian Apprenticeship and Traineeship system helps pave the way to achieve this,” said Mr Miles.

The government’s recent budget announcement spotlighted their commitment to re-invigorate the apprenticeship system through the Skilling Australia Fund and the Industry Specialist Mentoring for apprenticeships.

Mr Miles went onto say there needs to be equal commitment from industry and employers.

“There are some fantastic incentives available now for small and medium size businesses including the Back to Work and the $20,000 Youth Boost for regional Queensland.

“In addition it’s important we work together to help close the gap on cancellations and withdrawals as the data shows it is more likely in that first two years,” Mr Miles said.

For further information about apprenticeships, traineeships or the Back to Work ‘Youth Boost’ scheme, budget, visit www.budget.gov.au or more information on Back to Work visit https://busyatwork.com.au/backtowork


MEDIA CONTACT: Leanne Macnamara, Public Relations Coordinator
0438 173 960 leanne.macnamara@busyatwork.com.au

Australian vocational education and training statistics: Apprentices and trainees 2016, December quarter is available from: https://www.ncver.edu.au/publications/publications/all-publications/apprentices-and-trainees-2016-december-quarter.
A chance to be bold and ambitious: make apprenticeships the lynchpin to a better integrated tertiary education sector released by the National Centre for Vocational Education Research (NCVER) considers these issues.

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