Death of the tradie: Alarming figures show a 50 per cent decline in blue collar skills sparking fears of a ‘skills extinction’
- Apprenticeship numbers have been drastically declining nationally for years
- Every state except Queensland has recorded a decline every year since 2013
- The numbers have sparked fears a ‘tradie extinction’ could be looming
Apprenticeships in blue collar jobs have declined by more than 50 per cent sparking fear of a tradi extinction, new figures show.
In 2012 there were 201,305 apprenticeships started nationally, which dropped dramatically to 122,550 in 2013, with the downward trend continuing each year since.
The completion rates for those who started their apprenticeships in 2014 also decreased to 54.5%, figures from National Centre for Vocational Education Research show.
Apprenticeship numbers have steadily declined since 2013 which has sparked concerns Australia could have a skills shortage that would cripple the trade’s industry
By 2017 the number of apprenticeships commenced nationally was the lowest in decades at 69,220.
Interestingly the number of cancellations dropped at a similar rate indicating the drop in numbers is from a possible lack of interest instead of completion rates.
Overall there were 276,250 apprentices and trainees in-training as of 31 March 2019, a decrease of 0.9% from 31 March 2018.
Western Australian figures showed the number of active apprentices had dropped by 13,000 since 2013, a 30 per cent drop, prompting fears of a ‘tradie extinction’ in the state.
Opposition Leader Anthony Albanese addressed the issue of falling apprenticeship numbers and said it risked impacting heavily on local and national economies.
‘If the Liberals don’t do something serious to fix the skills crisis they have created in the west, we could be looking at the extinction of the tradie,’ Mr Albanese told The West Australian.
The most recent data for NSW shows the current numbers of apprentices in training has dropped to 20,880 while Victoria has 12,820.
In 2012 there were 201,305 apprenticeships started nationally but that figure dropped to 122,550 in 2013, with the downward trend continuing each year since
The two territories also saw sharp declines in recent years with the ACT only having 2,200 active apprentices in training and in the Northern Territory just 1,010.
Tasmania saw a steady decline of 2,735 active apprentices in 2016 to 2,605 by 2017 while South Australian numbers are touch higher with 3,265.
Meanwhile Queensland is the only state or territory to experience a rise in apprenticeship numbers going from 13,420 in 2016 to 15,890 in 2017.
NCVER Managing Director said in an attempt to curve the downward trend was of particular concern to the organisation.
‘Maximising apprenticeship completion rates has been a longstanding concern for governments because they represent the return on significant government investment in training,’ he said.
‘Employing apprentices with group training organisations is one means of doing this, as they can provide the additional care and ongoing support required by some apprentices to successfully complete their training contract.’
Queensland was the only state or territory to have a steady rise in apprenticeship numbers going from 13,420 in 2016 to 15,890 in 2017