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Covid hits apprenticeships hard, threatens renewed decline

Manufacturing News

The Covid-19 pandemic year of 2020 was a shocker for apprentices in Australia, with the pandemic hitting apprenticeship starts and completions hard.

Commencements plunged 18.8 per cent to 126,665 as at 30 September, 2020 while completions were down 14 per cent to 73,205.

There are now 264,425 Australians in apprenticeship training according to new figures from the National Centre for Vocational Education Research (NCVER) .

Of commencements, 60,115 were trades – down 15.7 per cent from 2019.

Engineering, ICT and science technicians were down 20.8 per cent, automotive and engineering down 14.4 per cent and food trades down 24.4 per cent.

The slump comes after a period of relative stability – a very slow year on year decline in apprentice numbers (main image) – since about 2016.

This followed a precipitous fall in apprentice numbers from 2012 coinciding with the election of the coalition government in 2013.

After the initial steep falls, numbers stabilised in 2016, until this latest fall.

From a high in 2012 of 515,000 people in training, there are now 264,425 apprentices and trainees in-training as at 30 September, 2020.

Images: NCVER

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