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News Media Releases Worrying new apprenticeship figures show not all is well in the boom state
Worrying new apprenticeship figures show not all is well in the boom state
Thursday, 08 December 2011 13:33

New figures released this week by the National Centre for Vocational Education Research (NCVER) paint a very alarming picture of WA’s resource boom.

Despite a thriving resource economy, the number of people undertaking apprenticeships in the key areas of construction and engineering has decreased since March this year.

The number of people in training in the automotive and engineering sector has fallen from 7,700 to 7,500 in the three months to June 2011. The number of people in training in the construction trades has also fallen from 4,500 to 4,300 over the same period.

At the same time there has been an increase in the WA workforce, leaving a decrease in the percentage of the workforce engaged as trainees or apprentices. For the engineering and automotive sector which includes steel fabrication the training rate has dropped from 13.3% in June 2010 to 12.7% in June this year. For the construction trades the training rate has dropped from 20.8% to 16.4% over the same period. The number of people commencing training in the construction area dropped by a massive 34.2% over this period.

UnionsWA Secretary Simone McGurk said the figures are particularly concerning given the amount of resource projects currently under construction in WA.

“The fact that we have falling numbers of apprenticeships during a boom is incredibly alarming and shows just how little investment any of the major resource companies put into training local workers.”

“These figures also provide a clear indication of how much work from those resource projects is being sent offshore. Traditionally it is the smaller workshops and businesses that have taken on the majority of apprentices in this state. With so much work being sent offshore these smaller businesses are struggling and are unable to take on new apprentices.

“It is a tragedy that despite the amount of wealth being generated in WA through our resource projects and the continuous talk of skills shortages, it has never been harder to get an apprenticeship. Given the number of major resources projects under construction in WA you would expect to see more training opportunities being created for young Western Australians, not less.”

“The State Government must address the lack of investment in training by the major resource companies. They also need to ensure more work from the major projects goes to local businesses so they can once again provide training opportunities for our state’s young people.”

“These apprentice and trainee figures paint the real picture of the WA resource boom and it is nowhere near as rosy as Mr Barnett and his friends at Chevron and Woodside are telling us it is.”

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