Steps to lower employment costs, stimulate economic growth and improve training quality are needed to address falling apprenticeship and traineeship numbers, according to a new industry report.
The National Centre for Vocational Education and Research (NCVER) report shows that nationally there were 295,300 apprentices and trainees in-training as at September 2015.
This represents a decrease of almost 14 per cent from the previous September.
“Disturbingly, this represents a fall of around 40 per cent from 2012 levels, when cuts to employer incentives were made by the federal government,” the report notes.
The drop off in the number of Victorian apprentices and trainees is even greater. There were 69,100 apprentices and trainees in-training in Victoria as at September 2015, a drop of 44 per cent from 2012 levels.
“The alarming fall in national and Victorian apprentice and trainee numbers is damaging Victoria’s current workforce capacity and undermining our ability to develop a strong future workforce,” said Victorian Chamber Chief Executive Mark Stone.
“It can take a number of years for a young person to commence and successfully complete an apprenticeship, find work and become fully productive in their employment. This means addressing barriers to hiring apprentices and trainees must be a priority for governments at all levels.”
A recent Victorian Chamber survey found that business will be more inclined to hire apprentices and trainees if the cost of employing an apprentice or trainee is reduced, demand for business products and services is stimulated and confidence in the training system is improved.
“With youth unemployment a persistent problem, policy makers, business and education providers must work together to ensure young Victorians have the best chance of gaining a foothold in the workforce,” said Mr Stone.
“Failure to do so risks creating a lost generation of workers and damaging the ability of business to compete and innovate.”