Craftsmanship, skill, knowledge; all important traits of an industry professional. The journey to become a “tradesman”, a word used not too often in today’s society, begins with an apprenticeship. Importantly the essential training provided to an apprentice both onsite and theoretical is crucial to sustain longevity and quality of service.
According to the ABS from May 2011 to May 2017 there has been a decline in Australian trainees and apprentices by 19%. Unbelievably that’s an amazing 41,100 people! While a lot of this can be attributed to industries changing from manufacturing to service. In contrast much of the decline is also driven by greed and the push to maximise profits.
Nonetheless, there is a common misconception that no-one wants to be an apprentice. And I find statements like “kids don’t want to do trades anymore” unsubstantiated. For example whenever we post positions for new apprentices, we are inundated with applicants. In fact in most instances now, we don’t advertise, word of mouth is all we need.
Important for Our Future
Training an apprentice is crucial for the sustainability of specific industries and continued retention of trade based knowledge. So, a significant drop in industry professionals will see an accelerated increase in charge out rates. Additionally it could ultimately have an affect on the growth of our economy. It is extremely important that our workforce, individual industries and customers fight to maintain strength in know how and in numbers. Therfore, organisations need to do more to support apprentices and trainees.
The “Win, Win, Win” philosophy showcased in Stephen R. Covey’s famed “7 Habits of Highly Effective People” can be practically demonstrated through the employment of apprentices. Win 1; employment and opportunity is provided to someone in need. Win 2, an organisation attains a valuable and enduring resource. Win 3, customers are provided with service, support and security. This basic and complete cycle supplies a fantastic future for any employee, business or customer.
We all need to better understand the benefits of employing trainees. There are people out there that want opportunities, it is our responsibility to ensure they have them.
Data provided by the Australian Bureau of Statistics
In May 2011, there were 226,500 people aged 15-64 years who were employed as apprentices or trainees and part of the Australian Apprenticeship Scheme. Of these, 108,000 people (48%) had commenced their apprenticeship or traineeship in the last 12 months. In 2011, the majority of apprentices or trainees (79%) were males. The highest number of apprentices and trainees, 60,300, were working within the Construction field of trade.
In May 2017, there were 185,400 people aged 15 to 64 years who were employed as apprentices or trainees and were part of the Australian Apprenticeship Scheme. Of these, 81,100 people (44%) had commenced their apprenticeship or traineeship in the last 12 months. The majority of apprentices or trainees were male (83%). As in previous years, construction was the most common industry for apprentices and trainees, with 41% employed in this industry.