The mining industry has been a major driver in the growth of apprentice and trainee numbers in Australia, with the sector on track to put thousands more into work over the coming years.
Apprenticeship and trainee commencements for the December quarter of 2020 jumped by 141.5 per cent compared to the same period a year earlier, according to National Centre for Vocational Education Research (NCVER).
NCVER managing director Simon Walker attributed the significant jump to an initiative from the federal government.
“Apprentice and trainee commencements for the December quarter is at a five-year high and is a dramatic increase from the same quarter in 2019,” Walker said.
“This coincides with the introduction of the Australian Government’s Boosting Apprenticeship Commencements wage subsidy.”
The program provided a 50 per cent wage subsidy for apprentice commencements before September 30, 2021. Industries with the largest increase in commencements included construction and manufacturing.
“Compared with the December quarter 2019, there were increases across all major occupational groups and industry sectors,” Walker added.
Almost 300,000 apprentices and trainees were on the job at the end of 2020, up 13.9 per cent from 2019.
But in contrast, completions of apprenticeships were down by 15.7 per cent from December 2019, to 22,255.
South Australia saw the biggest jump in commencements, up 22.5 per cent to 20,895 in-training.
Minerals Council of Australia chief executive officer Tania Constable said the mining industry was a major player in the training of young Australians.
“Close to 5000 new apprenticeship positions will be created in the mining industry over the next few years, mostly located in regional Australia,” Constable said.
“As the economy rebounds from the pandemic, which has hit the job prospects of young Australians hard, the minerals industry is supporting regional economies in their time of need.”