Apprentice numbers in free fall across state
A BLUE-COLLAR bust has drained Queensland of tradies as the state records a dramatic drop in apprentices and business complain many qualified trainees are not up to the job.
Shock data shows the state's manufacturing hubs have recorded some of the biggest falls in apprenticeship numbers - some more than 40 per cent in six years.
Today, The Courier-Mail shines a spotlight on the state's 30 electorates to highlight the growing problem of youth unemployment at the time fewer are taking on an apprenticeship or trainee program.
Labo rLeader Anthony Albanese has attacked the Morrison Government for failing to fix the "skills crisis".
Brisbane's outer ring has been hit hard, as have agricultural and mining-heavy electorates.
Capricornia - one of the state's mining belts - has had a 44 per cent reduction in people starting trades.
In 2013, there were 4469 engaged in an apprenticeship or training in Capricornia but by September 2018, it had dropped by 1971.
Across the state, there were 29,467 fewer apprentices in September last year than five years ago.
It comes as Wide Bay has a youth unemployment rate of 18.5 per cent, Capricornia clocking 17.2 per cent and Townsville 17.1 per cent.
Mr Albanese said the Government had been in power for six years and during this time it had issued more than 500,000 visas to overseas workers to cover skills shortages.
"Queensland employers are crying out for qualified workers, particularly in regional Queensland,'' Mr Albanese said.
"The skills crisis in engineering, health and community services, trades, technicians and construction is hurting the Queensland economy and denying young Queenslanders a pathway to secure, well-paid jobs."
Labor's shadow training spokeswoman Tanya Plibersek said the Palaszczuk Government was doing the heavy lifting by supporting Queenslanders to get the skills and training they needed.
Skills Minister Michaelia Cash smacked down the criticism, saying Labor's intervention in the skills sector was so damaging it was still being fixed.
"Labor gutted employer incentives for employing apprentices. Nine times,'' Senator Cash said.
"And Queensland Labor failed to sign up to the Skilling Australians Fund, a federal partnership with the States and Territories, that would have awarded Queensland $245 million to create 50,000 new apprentice and training program places in Queensland over four years."