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Employers looking to retain apprentices

Employers are increasingly looking to retain their apprentices and maintain the current numbers of trainees within their organisation, according to a survey from the Australian Industry (AI) Group.

The AI Group’s findings come as part of their most recent analysis of the apprenticeship system in Australia. The study polled current employers on their intentions around retaining and expanding their current efforts to train new trades people.

The percentage of companies looking to increase the number of apprenticeship and traineeship spaces they offer has increased significantly within this study. Approximately 35 per cent of employers surveyed are taking on more new hires who require training, compared to only 24.5 per cent back in 2009-2010.

Another encouraging sign was the significant drop in companies which expect to cut the amount of existing workers they have who are in training. In 2009-2010, AI Group found that nearly 37 per cent of employers expected to lower the number of apprentices they have on the books. In the most recent survey, this number dropped to just 4 per cent.

While these numbers paint a positive picture for employers looking to take on new staff, there were also some hazards raised by the survey.

One of these was in skill shortages. The survey found that companies are facing a severe lack of technicians and trades workers. In fact, a third of companies which employ these workers have reported struggling to find employees with the right background. Roughly the same number also predicted that they would be seeing a personnel gap over the next twelve months.

Sales workers, on the other hand, were only found to be in short supply by 9.8 per cent of employers. Labourers recorded even lower rates again, with a lack of qualified workers only affecting 4 per cent of these companies.

Many employers also recorded finding a lack of skills in their new hires. Nearly 42 per cent of employers looking for technicians and trades suggested that they faced difficulty finding candidates with STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) skills. Other skills which employers cited dissatisfaction with were basic numeracy and literacy, self management and organisational skills.

While these challenges remain a real threat to the success of Australian apprentices, there are tools available to help employers get the right candidates for their position. Employers can register with services like Apprenticeship Central, a website which lets you easily connect with potential employees across the country.

This online resource also has tools to help you build a position description for your vacancy which can ensure any applications you receive have the right skills and experience to make a positive addition to your company.

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