Despite the strong demand for skilled labour in WA’s resources sector, the number of kids undertaking apprenticeships and traineeships in Western Australian schools fell by more than 16 per cent in 2010.
Figures released today by National Centre for Vocational Education Research (NCVER) revealed that the number of in-school apprentices and trainees fell from 11,000 children, in 2009, to 9,000 children in 2010.
The number of young people in training or undertaking an apprenticeship is a strong pointer to the future capability and capacity of the Western Australian workforce and the ability of local industry to participate in the design, construction and maintenance of WA’s major resources projects.
In addition to needing strong government action to ensure WA’s major resources projects deliver skilled work to local businesses, the State Government should also be ensuring our young people are developing the skills local industry will need to perform this work.
Without these demand and supply-side actions by government, the vast majority of skilled jobs and opportunities will head offshore, with Western Australians left to perform less skilled work, such as earthworks and catering. This will leave the WA economy without the skills necessary to create new industries that will provide jobs and opportunities once the current resources construction boom is over.