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News Media Releases Apprentice figures spark demand for urgent Government intervention
Apprentice figures spark demand for urgent Government intervention
Friday, 29 July 2011 09:47

Figures released today show a serious decline in people undertaking apprentice and traineeships in WA, including in the crucial high demand areas of engineering and construction trades.
The figures, released by the National Centre for Vocational Education Research (NCVER) revealed that between 2008 and 2010, the numbers training as apprentices or trainees in metal engineering and construction occupations have declined by over 2000.

“Time and again we hear about projected skilled labour shortages – in engineering, construction and electrical trades. The predictions for demand in these skills in WA alone extend out ten years and beyond. Yet the number of people we are training in these areas has actually declined in the last three years. It’s a disgrace, and it requires urgent action,” Ms McGurk said.

Decline in apprentice and trainee numbers come at a time when unions and industry groups have been calling on more intervention by the Barnett Government to capitalise on big resource development in Western Australia.

“When we are looking at approving billion dollar resource projects, we should be asking Chevron, Woodside, BHP:   how many people are you going to train as part of the project? That requirement is not part of the Government approval process now, but it should be.”

“When unions met with Chevron at the commencement of the Gorgon project in early 2010 they told us they had no training policy as part of that $43 billion development. So neither Chevron, nor any of their project partners, had any plans to take on any apprentices or trainees as part of that project.

“Nor had the State Government required them to take on apprentices or trainees as a condition of approval,” Ms McGurk said.  
Ms McGurk said the increased offshoring of skilled engineering and fabrication work by WA's major resource projects was undermining the ability of local businesses to take on trainees and apprentices.

"With more and more of the skilled engineering and fabrication work for projects like Gorgon and FMG being done offshore, there is less work in our workshops and fewer training opportunities for young Western Australians," she said.
"The State Government should support Labor's Skilled Local Jobs Bill, which would give local engineering and fabrication businesses the pipeline of work they need to underpin apprenticeships and trainee positions.
"If we don't use the current resources boom to train local kids, WA won't have the skilled workers we need to create new industries and jobs beyond the boom."

The data demonstrating training number decline can be found at

pdf Media Release - Apprentice Numbers 97.96 Kb

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