Construction industry is still busy. Image – Canva.
  • The findings come as today marks the beginning of National Skills Week
  • Almost half of employers (45%) have reported recruitment difficulties
  • Apprenticeships are seen as a long-term solution to address skill gaps

While ongoing labour and skills shortages are well known, new data has revealed that the number of apprentices is reaching an all-time high.

The data, from the National Centre for Vocational Education Research (NCVER), has shown that the number of apprentices and trainees has increased by almost 17% compared to last year.

The news comes as the National Skills Week begins today, ending on 28 August, with the Albanese’s government’s Jobs Skill Summit to be held next week, from 1 September to 2 September.

Recruitment difficulties high

Almost half of the employers (45%) surveyed by NCVER have reported recruitment difficulties for their most recent vacancies. According to the most recent national Skills Priority List, nearly half (42%) of Technician and Trade occupations are currently in significant shortage.

In light of this, Gary Workman, Executive Director of the Apprenticeship Employment Network, said addressing the disconnect between the high apprentice number and the ongoing skills shortage is crucial for ‘keeping the lights on’ for some businesses.

According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) June Business Conditions and Sentiments June survey, skills shortages are placing industries that rely on trade works and labourers – along with hospitality workers – under extreme pressure.

“Apprenticeships are a long-term solution to address skill gaps in the workforce, the current apprenticeship boom needs to be continued to assist with addressing those gaps,” Mr Workman said.

“Additional measures are also needed to ensure youth have sustainable career options and businesses can continue to build the skills they need,”

Gary Workman, Apprenticeship Employment Network Executive Director

“The Treasurer is looking for more efficient ways to do things. The obvious place to start would be by ensuring employers are only subsidised for genuine new apprenticeships.”

“These are some of the key issues the government must consider at the September Jobs and Skills Summit.”

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