Employer groups have expressed concern about a significant drop in the number of people starting apprenticeships – a new report shows commencements of non-trade apprenticeships dropped 27% in the last quarter.
The figures from the National Centre for Vocational Education Research (NCVER) indicate a steady decline in new apprentices entering the job market, and an overall trend of a dramatic drop off over the past 12 months.
The Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ACCI) said it is not surprised by the new findings, and said it has raised serious concerns with government for some time. It says more incentives are needed for employers to take on apprentices – otherwise the figures would tumble even further.
"It is of no comfort that these predictions have become reality," ACCI employment, education and training director Jenny Lambert said in a statement. “Australia needs to do everything possible to encourage more businesses to employ apprentices, particularly in the many trades necessary to secure a strong and productive economy in the future.”
Opposition spokeswoman on employment participation Sussan Ley added that it is integral that the number of apprenticeships on offer is raised in order to tackle the already high rate of youth unemployment.