The fall of apprentices and who’s to blame

New government statistics show the number of apprentices becoming tradies is plummeting. According to Federal Government statistics in 2011 there were 443,833 apprentices undertaking training, compared to only 316,000 today.


Some employers are putting it down to Gen Y’s laziness while others believe there are communication barriers and it’s not all Gen Y’s fault.

In an interview between a national radio station and Peter Quiring, a 30-year-old man who is in his second year of his second apprenticeship. Mr Quiring said after being around young people who are doing their apprenticeship, he believes modern bosses need to change how they treat their apprentices.

“Old school bosses remember the way they were treated as apprentices and treat theirs the same way. To young people that sort of treatment is the same as harassment they hear about all the time.

As an apprentice, I am the one who has to crawl through the mud under the house or dig a trench with a shovel. But someone has to do it and its better if the least experienced person does it.”Mr Quiring

Another decisive factor is the money an apprentice is paid. If you study a four year apprenticeship, you earn $10 in your first year, $12 in your second, $15 in your third and $18 in your final year.

Mr Quiring suggests bosses need to sit down with their apprentices and explain to them the costs and break-even amounts that is involved when hiring an apprentice. He also mentions “it’s not just the low wages, but the uncertainty about their work that makes people anxious”.

Though it’s not all bad news for the apprenticeship program. The Australian Government is investing up to $200 million annually in the Apprenticeship Network which will operate from more than 420 locations nation-wide.


Visit the Australian Apprenticeships website for more information.

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