Over the last month, the National Centre of Vocational Educational Research has released two new reports, Apprentices and trainees 2020: December quarter; and Completion and attrition rates for apprentices and trainees 2020.
As an employer or job seeker, you might be wondering, “what does it mean for me?” Below, we discuss the findings and what they mean for employers and job seekers.
When reading the below information, it is important to note the outcomes of this research have been heavily impacted by the COVID-19 Pandemic, particularly when considering the Boosting Apprenticeships Commencements (BAC) Scheme was active during this period.
The good news for job seekers is that there are many apprenticeship jobs currently available for job seekers, and the BAC continues for employers who put on new Australian Apprentices.
The Boosting Apprenticeship Commencements wage subsidy supports businesses and Group Training Organisations to take on new apprentices and trainees, to build a pipeline of skilled workers to support sustained economic recovery.
Through the subsidy, any business or Group Training Organisation that engages an Australian Apprentice between 5 October 2020 and 31 March 2022 may be eligible for a subsidy of 50 per cent of wages paid to a new or recommencing apprentice or trainee for a 12-month period from the date of commencement, to a maximum of $7,000 per quarter. There is no cap on the number of eligible trainees/apprentices.
So, what does this mean for you?
What the data shows
The National Centre for Vocational Education Research (NCVER) collect data about apprenticeships and traineeships. This includes things like how many apprentices and trainees start (called commencements), how many leave (withdrawals and cancellations), and how many finish (completions).
This data is released four times a year, and the numbers for the whole of 2020 have just come out.
The data shows some really good news for Australian Apprenticeships. In the December quarter (October to December 2020), apprenticeship and traineeship commencements increased by 141.5%. That means 2.4 times as many people started an apprenticeship or traineeship in that time, when compared with the same period in 2019.
The number of completions declined by 15.7% in the December quarter. This is expected because a lot of apprentices and trainees lost their jobs or halted their training earlier in the year because of COVID-19.
What is causing the big change in numbers?
NCVER compared their data against the previous quarter or year. Whilst this generally provides an effective way to understanding the current climate of apprenticeship and traineeship commencements and completions, it is crucial to interpret this data within the context of 2019 being an incredibly uncertain time for employers, business and government due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
From June 2019, the Australian Government implemented various stimulus packages to support eligible employers, apprentices and trainees. In October 2020, The Boosting Apprenticeship Commencements (BAC) wage subsidy program started for all eligible apprenticeships and traineeships. The BAC provides a subsidy of 50 per cent of wages paid to a new or recommencing apprentice or trainee for a 12-month period from the date of commencement to a maximum of $7,000 per quarter. There is no cap on the number of eligible trainees/apprentices.
Diversity across commencements
Did you know the term Australian Apprenticeships cover both apprenticeships and traineeships?
Australian Apprenticeships cover both trade and non-trade. A trade apprenticeship cover roles such as electrician, mechanic, plumber ect. A non-trade apprenticeship covers roles such as business admin, child care and aged care ect.
Both trade and non-trade apprenticeships are open to both men and women, with an increase of women taking up trade roles.
There is also an increase of trade and non-trade roles being undertaken as an Australian Apprenticeship, which means that VET is leading to sustainable career pathway for more Australian’s across a diverse range of careers.
Diversity across apprenticeships and traineeships shows growth with:
- Commencement of females is up 14.6% from 2019
- Commencement of males is up 8.4% from 2019
- Commencement of non-trade apprenticeships and traineeships is up 12.6% from 2019
- Commencement of trade apprenticeships and traineeships is up 8.3% from 2019
What does this mean for current apprentices and trainees?
This quarter reflects an upswing in commencements across trades and non-trades, and a rise in commencements from both males and females. This shows that apprenticeships and traineeships are effectively providing career pathways for a diverse set of individuals across a range of traditional and non-traditional apprenticeship industries.
The annual data shows a growth of 23.7% of commencements for those aged 25-44 and a growth of 38.1% of commencements for those aged 45 years and older. It is important to note that this growth could be related to the BAC and other Government incentives inspiring employees to move existing employers into traineeships, with existing workers being moved into apprenticeships or traineeships growing 83.6% from 2019 to 2020.
Current apprentices and trainees who are coming to the end of their BAC term may be concerned about job security once their incentive ends. If this is you, you can reach out to your local Apprenticeship Network Provider to discuss your concerns and your future possibilities.
What does this mean for future apprentices and trainees?
With the growth in diversity across trade and non-trade apprenticeships and traineeships, now is a fantastic time for anyone entering the workforce or considering a career change to look into an Australian Apprenticeship.
The BAC has also been extended until March 2022, meaning that eligible workplaces continue to receive incentives for hiring new apprentices or trainees.