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Latest data shows Apprentice numbers decline while non trades increase

Data released yesterday by the National Centre for Vocational Education Research (NCVER) revealed the overall apprentice and trainee commencements were down by 3.7 per cent compared to the same period last year.

The overall decrease can be attributed to a decline in the number of commencements in trade occupations, down 10.8% to 27 900 for the March 2016 quarter when compared with the March 2015 quarter.

Dr Mette Creaser, National Manager, Statistics and Analytics, NCVER said there has however been an increase in non-trade occupations.

“Although there has been an overall decrease in apprentice and trainee commencements in the March 2016 quarter, a positive is a 4.6% growth in commencements in non-trade occupations. This is mainly due to increases in sales assistants and salespersons, and carers and aides workers” said Dr Creaser.

Assistant Minister for Vocational Education and Skills, the Hon Karen Andrews MP said the latest NCVER data indicates people continue to get the benefit of learning on-the-job as an apprentice or trainee.

“We are actively working to improve the system through a number of initiatives, including the Australian Apprenticeship Support Network (AASN) introduced to assist employers to recruit, train and retain apprentices while also helping apprentices get the support they need to complete their training,” Minister Andrews said.

AASN Provider, BUSY At Work CEO Paul Miles noted his concerns about the drop in the number of people starting an apprenticeship.

“While the latest NCVER data shows an increase in people commencing training in non-trade professions from last year, our trade occupations are a vital key to the Australian job market and our economy.

“I call on all employers to seriously consider taking on an apprentice or trainee to help build a strong and skilled workforce for the future,” Mr Miles said.

With over 600 apprenticeships and traineeships available, BUSY is there to provide support for both the employer and the apprentice throughout the life of the apprenticeship or traineeship.

The Australian Government also provide support through incentives and funding for eligible employers and apprentices.

For further information call 13 BUSY (12 28 79) or visit


MEDIA CONTACT: Leanne Macnamara, Public Relations Coordinator
0438 173 960

Source: The Australian vocational education and training statistics: Apprentices and trainees 2016, March quarter report is available from

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