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Why are our Apprentice Numbers in Free Fall?

April 6, 2018

 

The latest figures from NCVER state that apprenticeship numbers have fallen 50 % in five years.  In 2013 there were 2017,010 completions we now have only 261,925 apprenticeships registered across all stages from year one through four.

 

The Government, stakeholders and RTO’s are crying out why is this happening? What can be done?  And in true form they will move to collect research and data from all the wrong sources and throw some money at it via a fund or program maybe a not for profit and go into selling mode.

 

Not what we need. 

 

Speaking from a manufacturing, engineering and constructions space, there are a number of reasons why this is happening.  Some of it is reactive to poor Government decisions some of it is the change in the landscape of the trade industry and the new environment that business is working in. 

 

The current environment is not the same as it was twenty years ago, we have very limited large companies and in fact most of our companies now employ less that 20 staff directly, the use of sub contractors is a common choice and not only for private enterprise our councils, now use this systems also the Local councils were once are large provider of training our young tradespersons, these numbers across many of the LGA’s has significantly declined. 

 

Small companies are time poor and many have to weigh up the time it takes to invest in a young person for what they are going to get out of it.  Every business does this return on investment.  This is not selfish it is survival in a market that is fierce.

 

We also have the new wave of young people who have significantly poor social and emotional intelligence, I don’t want to label all of them in this basket but we are seeing this trend across all industries this is a challenge when you are working in a dangerous environment where you need to be able to rely on the soft skills of listening, following instructions, communication, manners and being on time to name a few.

 

Then we have the reactions that we are seeing in some of the poor government decisions.  Making our nation the clever country.  The University pathway being driven down the necks of parents and students as the benchmark of intelligence, success, financial reward and peer acceptance.  Even our TAFE has moved away from its core role a role of such great importance, that of training our skilled labor,  having fallen victim to this same mentality of being educators and trying ever so hard to move into a perceived more important higher level of educating. Funding striped from the VET sector limiting their budgets to spend on equipment at a time when we should be investing more in high tech equipment to train the next generation so that we may be competitive in the global market industry now face. 

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