The plans of young people hoping to start an apprenticeship or traineeship in 2020 have have been hit by the Covid-19 coronavirus pandemic with advertised vacancies dropping to just 880 vacancies nationwide.
This drop will leave a generation of young people struggling to get a foot on the employment ladder and result in recession-extending skills shortages as industry struggles to find qualified workers in the years to come.
Businesses that already employ apprentices and trainees have also been forced to lay them off, with an estimated 3,300 losing their position due to industry shutdowns resulting from the Covid-19 virus restrictions.
CEO of the Global Apprenticeship Network Gary Workman said: “This is just the first sign of things to come.
“We expect that even the 880 vacancies that are still reflected in the March figures may have been posted at the beginning of the month, before the economic ramifications of Covid-19 began to be felt.”
The Coronavirus hit comes after a long period of decline in apprentice starts and completions.
Apprenticeship commencements have declined for five consecutive years by 20,000 to just 56,265.
Workman said the latest drop was bad news for young people, who can end up with an unstable connection to the workforce if they are unemployed for a protracted period of time.
“New solutions are needed to deal with these extraordinary times.
“Group training organisations have managed to rotate around 40 apprentices who have lost their positions from businesses which could no longer hold onto them into new roles with businesses who are able to sustain their apprenticeship.
“We’re also looking at how we can help those apprentices and trainees who are just six months from finishing to complete their qualification through other means.”
The Global Apprenticeship Network (Australia) is proposing a number of measures to help businesses retain apprentices:
# Release of all 2019-20 Group Training Organisation (GTO) funding as soon as possible on a proportionate basis
# Release July-December 2020-21 GTO funding as soon as possible in July 2020
# Increase the wage support for all apprentices from 50 per cent to 100 per cent of the wage for all employers, regardless of the size of the employer
# Allow GTOs to work with all “out-of-trade” apprentices over the next six months to confirm their training plan requirements through to successful completion
# and the consideration of longer term programmes to re-engage with employers and youth to initiate new apprenticeships for 2021 onwards with the aim of a full recovery of apprenticeship and traineeship numbers.
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