Ai Group chief executive Heather Ridout has urged employers to consider hiring new apprentices this year and take advantage of additional Federal Government funding available until the end of February.
Ms Ridout said skill shortages were less evident during the global economic and financial crisis.
"Our research has shown that during the coming year skills shortages are anticipated for a range of occupations. Most prominent among these are technicians and trades workers and engineers.
"As a short-term measure, and in response to calls for action from Ai Group and other industry bodies, the Federal Government in December introduced the Apprentice Kickstart Bonus which offers additional financial incentives to employers who hire a new apprentice in a traditional trade.”
Under the scheme, employers will receive $7350 (including the additional $3350 bonus) for each new apprentice hired before February 28.
“This will hopefully take some pressure off training budgets and help address the forecast 20 per cent drop in apprenticeship starts, said Ms Ridout.
"Given the importance of nipping the re-emergence of skill shortages in the bud, the Government should also remain open to extending the program.”