The number of Western Australians in an apprenticeship or traineeship has jumped by 100 per cent in just over seven years.
Education and Training Minister Mark McGowan today released the new figures from the Department of Education and Training.
“From February 2001 to May 2008, the number of apprentices and trainees in WA grew from 18,743 to 37,421 - a massive 100 per cent,” Mr McGowan said.
“This is a significant increase and further proof that the State Government’s efforts to boost the supply of skilled workers are heading in the right direction.
“More than 60 per cent of WA’s apprentices and trainees are in the traditional trades where skill shortages are hitting hardest.”
The Minister said it was encouraging that the figures had risen across regional WA as well as in the metropolitan area.
“In percentage terms, the Kimberley, Wheatbelt, South-West, Pilbara and Perth metropolitan regions recorded the biggest growth in apprentices and trainees,” he said.
“Looking at the figures on an industry basis, the traditional trades of building and construction, electrical, and metals have had strong growth in apprentice numbers.
“The areas of transport and storage, process manufacturing, and community services, health and education have had significant growth in mostly trainee numbers.”
Mr McGowan said there was also good news in the number of apprentices and trainees who completed their qualifications during the period.
“A huge 66,233 apprentices and trainees completed their qualifications from February 2001 to May 2008,” he said.
The Minister said the Government was transforming WA’s training system to make it more flexible, responsive and efficient to better address the State’s skill shortages.
Major initiatives already introduced include:
· sweeping changes to update the Vocational Education and Training Act 1996 and creating a single, modern system for apprenticeships and traineeships;
· consolidating the number of industry advisory bodies from 14 to 10 to provide for improved training advisory arrangements in WA;
· allocating an additional $66million in the State Budget 2008-2009 to further increase the number of apprentices and trainees in WA to a total of 39,000; and
· reducing terms for a range of apprenticeships, including key skill shortage areas and new part-time and school-based apprenticeships.
Mr McGowan said the State Government was serious about addressing the skill shortages and had committed a record $284million in additional funding since February 2005.
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