Data published by the National Centre for Vocational Education Research (NCVER) showed that in the September 2015 quarter, the number of commencements of apprenticeships and traineeships across Australia decreased considerably compared with the corresponding period in 2014, falling 19.3 per cent to 36,000. Overall completions also dropped six per cent to 27,600.
As of the end of September, 2015, 295,300 people were said to be undertaking an apprenticeship or traineeships, a decrease of 13.7 per cent on the previous year.
It was not all bad news, though – cancellations and withdrawals declined 10.7 per cent to 24,000.
In terms of trade apprenticeship and traineeships, commencements decreased 8.5 per cent to 16,100. There was a more positive result for completions, which increased 18.1 per cent to 11,800.
NCVER’s report also showed that as of 30 September, 2015, 9700 people were in the process of completing resources and infrastructure sector training. In addition, it was said that 1600 people commenced training in this sector in the September 2015 quarter.
The RII Resources and Infrastructure Industry Training Package, the package primarily used for the quarrying industry, was one of the packages measured as part of the resources and infrastructure sector training activity data.
The report did not contain any comparative resources and infrastructure training activity data from the previous corresponding period.
Behind the numbers
Dr Mette Creaser, NCVER’s national manager of statistics and analytics, said there were a number of reasons that may have contributed to the national decline in commencement and in-training numbers.
“Previous NCVER research has shown that a subdued labour market and the uncapping of university places have an impact on the number of people entering into apprenticeships and traineeships,” she said.
Creaser told Quarry there was a definite pay-off for people who completed an apprenticeship or traineeship. “Our research shows that about 84 per cent of people who finished their apprenticeship or traineeship in 2014 were employed six months later,” she stated. “For trade apprentices and trainees the number was even higher, with over 90 per cent employed six months after finishing their training.”
Commenting on how more people could be encouraged to undertake apprenticeships and traineeships, Creaser said there were three parties required – people willing to do an apprenticeship/traineeship, employers offering an apprenticeship/traineeship, and a training provider.
“All three parties are necessary,” she stated. “So policies that target both would-be apprentices and trainees and employers may help increase numbers.”
Creaser added that it would be useful for employers to have access to Federal Government incentives to partially offset the associated costs. “It needs to be recognised that the provision of apprenticeships/traineeships by employers is a substantial undertaking with considerable costs.”
In terms of encouraging apprentices and trainees to complete their education, Creaser said it was important to understand the various factors that could cause them to prematurely quit.
“NCVER research indicates the most common reasons are employment-related, including interpersonal difficulties with employers or colleagues, not liking the work or changing careers,” she stated.
“Also, employers with the highest completion rates are generally larger, experienced employers with well-organised systems for managing apprentices, while employers with lower completion rates tend to be smaller and have less experience.”
The full NCVER report is available via www.ncver.edu.au
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