UnionsWA today commented on the latest release by the National Centre for Vocational Education Research (NCVER) of apprentice and trainee numbers in WA that show the fall in numbers to be the worst for five years. Recent state budget increases to training fees and funding cuts to TAFE are likely to hasten this decline.
Meredith Hammat, Secretary UnionsWA said:
“These latest figures show that total trainee and apprentice numbers in WA have fallen by 4% between December 2012 and 2013.
"The total number of people starting a new courses or apprenticeship was down 12.7 per cent over the same period.
"There are now 1,700 fewer apprentices and trainees and this is the worst result in WA for five years.
“Yet in the recent state budget the Treasurer announced that training course fees will rise further.
“Next year alone TAFE College funding will be cut by $40 million.
“This is not a plan to address youth unemployment or provide skills needed for our future.
“The greatest impact is seen with fall for those in higher skilled construction, engineering and automotive trades where there are now fewer apprentices in training than last year as well as fewer than five years ago.
“This is harmful to our immediate and long term economic prospects.
“Despite WA’s rapidly growing population we now have fewer skilled workers for housing construction, car repair and maintenance.
“Our skills shortages are driving costs of living up further.”
National Centre for Vocational Education Research (NCVER) 'Apprentices & Trainee Number, December 2013' is available here.
An article in The West Australian ('Apprentice falls-Off fuels skills fears', 30 May 2014) can be viewed here