Attracting more people into trade apprenticeships could help ease current skill shortages.
The main motivation for wanting an apprenticeship is an intrinsic interest in the trades. However, most senior secondary school students, particularly those with higher academic ability are not interested in an apprenticeship.
This is the message coming out of new research by Dr Josie Misko and colleagues from the National Centre for Vocational Education Research (NCVER), which sought to discover why young people choose or do not choose to undertake a traditional trade apprenticeship.
The study found that teachers and career counsellors rarely encourage students to consider an apprenticeship and that information available on careers in the trades is poor.
Generally, teachers and counsellors only initiate discussion about the positive aspects of apprenticeships with students of lower academic ability.
“Understanding what motivates people to pursue an apprenticeship is the first step to addressing skill shortages,” NCVER’s managing director Dr Tom Karmel said.
“This information can be used to focus recruitment drives,” he said.
The study also found that the experience of young people who have opted for an apprenticeship is very positive. They cite opportunities for career establishment and progression, continuous and secure employment, and financial, educational and personal benefits.
Promoting these experiences could help to get more school students to consider an apprenticeship.
Doing an apprenticeship: What young people think, by Josie Misko, Nhi Nguyen and John Saunders has been produced by NCVER on behalf of the Australian Government and state and territory governments with funding provided through the Department of Education, Science and Training.