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Trades apprenticeships up in 2013

The number of Australians undertaking a trades-related apprenticeship increased last year, while drop-out rates for courses decreased.

According to recently released data from the National Centre for Vocational Education Research (NCVER), the number of apprenticeships in trades increased in 2013, with 2.3 per cent more people undertaking this course of study.

This translates to 98,300 trades apprenticeships last year, compared to 96,000 in 2012.

Industries within this category include areas like electrical work, construction, automotive and hairdressing.

Among the states, the uptake of apprenticeships was weighted heavily towards the east coast. New South Wales, Victoria and Queensland all had high levels of trades-based study, with all three home to around 25,000 training workers.

A small minority of students also chose to undertake school-based study, representing nearly 5 per cent of the total trades-based apprentices. The rest were all completing their course through a non-school programme.

As the number of individuals looking to enter an apprenticeship or traineeship increase, jobseekers will need to take every step to find the right apprenticeship for their needs.

One of the best options is to register with Apprenticeship Central. With a streamlined registration process, individuals can soon be searching for apprenticeships or traineeships in their region that match their skills and interests.

Drop-out rates decreasing

One of the biggest positives to come out of this survey was the overall decrease in students prematurely leaving these courses. Trade and non-trade apprenticeships collectively saw a 16.4 per cent reduction in the number of people dropping out of a course of study.

Despite this decrease, many apprentices are still not completing their course, with 119,900 still leaving their studies in 2013.

Rod Camm, managing director of NCVER, pointed to the importance of working conditions for understanding these figures.

“With declining numbers of apprentices and trainees starting training, initiatives that help people stick with their apprenticeship or traineeship, such as support strategies for apprentices in the early stages of their training, may need greater consideration,” said Mr Camm.

“We know from other NCVER work that the most commonly cited reason for not completing an apprenticeship is employment-related, such as not liking the work or not getting along with employers or colleagues.”

These declining numbers suggest that new apprentices are more aware of the conditions affecting their future work, especially around employment conditions.

One solution for potential apprentices who are looking to find the right career for their needs is to take the Harrison Online Careers Assessment. This simple tool can provide accurate information on which career is right for your skills and interests.

Non-trade apprenticeships dropping

While the NCVER recorded positive growth in trades-based apprenticeships, they also found that non-trade professions have decreased in popularity. Numbers in these courses of study have dropped by 37.5 per cent, leading to an overall decrease for apprenticeships of 25.9 per cent.

Non-trade study options, like labourers and sales workers, make up slightly less than 60 per cent of the total number of student workers in Australia, which is why the drop in this area has dragged down the overall statistics for apprenticeships in the country.

If these drop-out rates continue to decrease and trades-based study increases, the future looks positive for apprenticeships in Australia.

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