The most recent data on apprentice and trainee training activity show a strong increase in commencements in the March quarter 2021, an increase which is in line with the growth in manufacturing activity and employment reported elsewhere.
The figures, from the National Centre for Vocational Education Research (NCVER) show that compared with the March quarter 2020:
- Total commencements increased 35.4 per cent to 66,635
- And the total number of apprentices and trainees in-training as at 31 March 2021 increased by 20.7 per cent to 329,585.
Apprentices and trainees 2021 – March quarter provides a national picture of apprenticeship and trainee activity, including both quarterly and annual figures that can be broken down by state and territory.
Commencements increased across trade by 33.3 per cent and non-trade occupations by 37.8 per cent when compared with the same quarter in 2020, with the largest absolute increases seen in construction trade workers, clerical and administrative workers, and community and personal service workers.
Across industry sectors, the largest absolute increases were in construction, accommodation, and health care and social assistance.
It was a different story for completions, with the number of completions in the March quarter 2021 down 1.2 per cent for trade occupations and down 17.5 per cent for non-trade occupations compared with the same quarter in 2020.
The COVID-19 pandemic and government stimulus responses have had big impacts on apprenticeship and traineeship numbers over the past 18 months, with notable increases and decreases in commencements, suspensions and completions at various stages of the pandemic.
NCVER warned that due to the unusual trends in activity during this period, it would take some time before the full effects on the outcomes of training become clear, and the data should be interpreted with caution.
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