Foreign workers needed to fill trades jobs as local apprentices dropout rate rises

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Foreign workers needed to fill trades jobs as local apprentices dropout rate rises

The role of the sc457 visa in filling the gap in trades jobs has been highlighted by NSW Skills Minister John Barilaro as half the nation’s young apprentices drop out of their training. Mr Barilaro told The Australian that the crisis is likely to deepen with the average age of a tradesperson now being 40; a looming shortage of plumbers, electricians and builders; and the unwillingness of school-leavers to pursue trade skills.

“We’re paying the price of two or three decades of telling kids that trade jobs won’t get you a great lifestyle or income,’’ he said. “Parents are encouraging kids to go to uni instead.

“But for most tradies, they end up as entrepreneurs, running their own business.’’

According to The Australian, Mr Barilaro himself worked as a carpenter in the family business before entering politics.

“A lot of tradies have got flash utes and cars. Because of the skills shortage, the rates of pay have ­increased,’’ he said.

He noted that despite industry’s demand for skilled trades workers, nearly half the young Australians who start an apprenticeship drop out within four years. According to data from the National Centre for Vocational Education ­Research around 50% of all upper-secondary students enrol in vocational programs. However it showed 56 per cent of ­apprentices who began training in 2010 had finished working in their trade four years later.

“Only one in three apprentices in construction trades, hairdressing or the food industry completed their apprenticeships, while one-third of construction workers and 15 per cent of hairdressers pulled out of an apprenticeship within the first year.”

Master Builders chief executive Wilhelm Harnisch told The Australian that the trend was “disturbing’’, as the construction industry would need 300,000 extra trades workers over the next decade. “Training an apprentice is very expensive,’’ he said. “It’s mainly undertaken by small to medium-sized businesses, and when conditions become tough their willingness to take on an apprentice is reduced.’’

Source: Migration Alliance


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