Apprentices and trainees are favouring trade-based qualifications over non-trade placements, recent figures have revealed.
The National Centre for Vocational Education Research (NCVER) showed in its Apprentices and Trainees 2015 – March Quarter report that 31,900 people began training towards a trade in the first three months of the year.
This compared with 28,400 individuals who commenced a non-trade apprenticeship or traineeship. The figures showed a marked difference from the previous year’s data, where non-trade training attracted 31,300 applicants and the trades saw 29,800 starters.
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NCVER National Manager for Statistics and Analytics Dr Mette Creaser said changes in specific industries helped the trades edge ahead of other apprenticeships and traineeships this year.
“The increase in trade commencements in the March 2015 quarter was predominantly driven by increases in the construction and plumbing trades,” she explained.
However, despite the improved performance for trade apprenticeships and traineeships over other placements, commencements overall were slightly below figures for the same period last year. The data revealed a 1.2 per cent drop in people training towards a qualification, down to 60,400.
Confidence affects hiring
According to Dr Creaser, scepticism regarding the health of the economy was a key factor in the lower commencement numbers earlier this year.
“When business confidence is subdued, fewer employers take on apprentices and trainees, so in view of the labour market conditions in the first quarter of this year, we expected to see fewer people starting apprenticeships and traineeships,” she stated.
Unfortunately, optimism among organisations appears to still be suffering. The latest Roy Morgan Research revealed that confidence dropped to its lowest level in four years in August.
NCVER statistics from July also showed completion rates were down for apprenticeships and traineeships that were due to end in 2014. The number of candidates finishing their placement slipped from 53.5 to 52.4 per cent.
Applicants claimed employment-related factors were the biggest reason for halting their training, with people saying they did not enjoy the work they were given or had problems with employers or colleagues.
This is why it’s so important for companies to utilise all the tools and resources at their disposal to encourage retention of apprentices and trainees at their business.