- Published on Sunday 1 March, 2015
- 3 min. to read
According to apprentice and trainee specialists, MEGT (Australia), it was good news to read the December 2014 National Centre for Vocational Education Research (NCVER) trade commencements showing an increase from 19,900 in the September 2014 quarter to 21,500, ending a series of declines since September 2013.
Sue Fergusson, General Manager for Statistics at NCVER, said the data is most beneficial for those who are looking to enter the workforce.
The graph depicts the substantial growth in non-trade commencements leading up to the June quarter 2012 and the subsequent decline which NCVER says is predominantly due to changes to Commonwealth incentive payments for existing workers. Under the changes, commencement incentive payments for those apprenticeships and traineeships not on the National Skills Needs List (NSNL) were removed from 1 July 2012. From 3 August 2013, non-NSNL existing workers who commenced an apprenticeship or traineeship were no longer eligible to claim completion incentive payments (priority occupations such as aged care, childcare, disability care and enrolled nurses were exempt from this change).
The figures clearly show the influence Federal Government financial support has on trainee and apprentice employment by trade, however it also shows the need to increasingly sell the benefits of traineeships and upskilling existing workers as an investment by businesses.
These historical figures are an indication of the number of fully skilled Australians available in the workforce at the completion of their traineeship or apprenticeship – being around 12 months to two years for trainees and up to four years for apprentices. This will be the time the trainee or apprentice will have the potential to deliver maximum productivity for a business, not just because the time dedicated to training will have been fulfilled, but also because their skills will have been honed on the job.
Employers of trade apprentices tend to have a greater understanding of how essential their apprentices are to the sustainability of their business and the greatest challenge lies in recruitment and retention.
The investment in trainees by a business needs to be put in this perspective. Dedicating three hours per week for training a trainee will see the return-on-investment in just 12 months to two years in terms of skills acquisition and potential productivity increases. The retention of productive staff is of course of even greater financial benefit to the business.
(Data are compiled under the Australian Vocational Education and Training Management Information Statistical Standard (AVETMISS) for the Apprentice and Trainee Collection specifications, Release 6.0, March 2008. Information on AVETMISS is available here.)