Apprenticeship drop-outs blamed on mining

Apprenticeship cancellations and dropouts have jumped more than 16 per cent, with well-paid mining jobs blamed for luring away trainees.

Statistics from the National Centre for Vocational Education Research released yesterday show while total numbers of apprenticeships were rising the drop-out rate was also high.

The data showed a jump of 1700 in the number of apprenticeships cancelled in the year to 30 September, bringing the total figure to 12,100 withdrawals.

According to The West Australian the drop-out rate in resource-rich Western Australia was almost twice the national average.

While mining companies continue the desperate search for qualified workers the number of people commencing trades occupations decreased by one per cent.

But the number of people starting non-trades occupations increased by 7.2 per cent.

In total there were 461,200 apprentices and trainees at the end of September 2011, a 3.2 per cent rise over last year.

WA Training and Workforce Development Minister Peter Collier told The West Australian many apprenticeship drop-outs were lured from their training by the large wages offered for unskilled mining jobs.

"Some of this is due to the appetite of young people who would prefer to take the easier option of driving a Haulpak at a mine site, earning three or four times the amount they would as an apprentice," he said.

Last week Collier said instead of complaining about the skills shortage the mining industry needed to "lift its game" in training workers for higher skilled mining jobs.

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