Where apprentices can get more work
Apprentices are in high demand across the nation, as employer confidence returns in line with easing COVID-19 restrictions in most states and government incentives that make hiring more attractive.
The Global Apprenticeship Network (GAN) Australian Apprenticeship Vacancy Index reveals there were 1413 listed available apprenticeships and traineeships last month, up from 1036 in June, 2019 - a 36 per cent increase year on year.
GAN Australia chief executive Gary Workman says it is mainly the result of growing employer confidence.
"Apart form Melbourne, most of the country seems to be easing their restrictions and lifting some of the social distancing requirements," he says.
"Employers are keen to get back to business.
"There is built-up demand there, certainly in construction (where) there has been more interest in apprenticeships over the last 12 months.
"With the COVID-19 issues, youth unemployment is sitting around 16 per cent so it's good to see employers looking at potential options for young people."
Workman says financial incentives for employers to hire apprentices that kicked in last July have also helped boost the number of available positions in the past year.
Under the Australian Apprenticeships Incentives Program - which is set to be updated and streamlined in January, 2021 - commencement, retention and completion payments are offered to employers who hire workers in high-demand occupations.
"There is increased money available for employers to take on apprentices," Workman says.
"Unlike the JobKeeper arrangement, they are permanent increases, which is good."
The vacancy index reveals the occupational groups that experienced the largest jump in available apprenticeships and traineeships included building and construction (up 86 per cent, 204 more entry-level jobs), hospitality, travel and tourism (61 per cent, 51 jobs), electrical, electronics and utilities (58 per cent, 50 jobs), and metal and engineering (46 per cent, 37 jobs).
On the other hand, there was a drop in vacancies in automotive and boating (down 32 per cent, 50 fewer entry-level jobs).
Workman says some of the growth in apprenticeships may be caused by employers replacing staff they lost three or four months ago when business shutdowns took affect, rather than a genuine increase in headcounts.
Another influencing factor may be the lack of available overseas workers while borders are closed.
"Some bigger builders use 457 visas and those options are becoming harder and more expensive so hopefully, like the 'Buy Australia' campaign, people will think about supporting Australian youth as well," he says.
Every state and territory recorded an increase in apprenticeships in the 12 months to June, except the ACT.
Queensland doubled its vacancies from 170 to 343.
In South Australia the number increased by 79 per cent (44 more jobs), Victoria was up 21 per cent (60 jobs), and New South Wales grew 10 per cent (42 jobs).
Tasmania and the Northern Territory quadrupled and tripled their vacancies respectively, but came off a very low base.
It is hoped job growth will continue into the future following the Federal Government's announcement of its JobTrainer package, which includes $1.5 billion to expand apprentice and trainee wage subsidies as well as 340,000 subsidised places in vocational education for people affected by COVID-19.
EZRA IS ON TRACK FOR A JOB IN PLUMBING
Year 11 student and plumbing pre-apprentice Ezra Lane is juggling high school at St Patrick's Technical College with completing a Certificate II in Plumbing at TAFE.
He says it is a great way to prepare for his future career.
"Once a week I go to TAFE," he says.
"We go into the workshop and complete hands-on learning and we do a lot of booklet learning about how to get workplace ready.
"Hopefully next year I can gain an apprenticeship with a company I like, then finish Year 12 as a school-based apprentice then go into a normal apprenticeship.
"I think it's really helpful (combining school and vocational education) because once I do go into an apprenticeship I will know a lot more than other people.
"I am so keen to get onto a job site and get as much hands-on experience as possible."
Lane, from South Australia, says some plumbing businesses have been affected by COVID-19 but he is not worried about being able to find work.
"There is always going to be a need for trades and it's going to grow as the population is growing," he says.
St Patrick's Technical College previously accepted only Year 11 and 12 students but is introducing a Year 10 cohort in 2021.
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Originally published as Where apprentices can get more work