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The WA Government has urged apprentices to stick with their training after new figures indicating four out of ten drop out.
At some major training providers up to half of all apprentices quit in their first year, with many moving on to highly paid but unskilled mining jobs.
WA Training Minister Peter Collier told The West Australian the high pay of unqualified mine positions was damaging apprentice retention rates.
“It’s a very attractive option as an 18, 19, or 20-year-old, to go and work on the mines driving Haulpaks in the north and earning [up to] six times more than their counterparts doing apprenticeships,” he said.
“So the number to leave in the first year is very high.
“Rather than looking at the big picture in terms of a qualification for life, they are looking at short-term monetary gain.”
The WA Group Training Scheme has lost 48 per cent of its first-year apprentices, and has called on the Government to pay pre-apprentices to study.
UnionsWA Secretary Simone McGurk said the low wages of apprentices were part of the problem, but any increase would need to be affordable for small and medium businesses.
Yesterday the Australasian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy said despite repeated warnings of skills shortages geology, mining engineering, and metallurgy students were struggling to pick up vacation work in the industry.
Students in minerals-related disciplines are required to complete at least 12 weeks of vacation work to receive their degrees, and AusIMM said some students were receiving degrees late because jobs were not available.