Trade Business SA welcomes trade solution in pipeline
Summary: IF you’ve ever had a hot water system break on a weekend, or a leaking pipe flood your house, you’ll know how difficult it is to find a good plumber at short notice.....
If you’re renovating or building, you will know the wait for good tradies can blow out project times by months.
There is a skills shortage affecting trades, and while we know there are people losing their jobs in shipbuilding and in car manufacturing, it doesn’t change the fact we’re facing a skills crisis in the coming years.
There are shortages in metal fabrication, crash and automotive repairs, construction, carpentry, plumbing, painting and general manufacturing. The State Government is introducing a heavy vehicle inspection scheme as well, and we know that means more jobs for people trained in the automotive industry.
Despite a perception that the jobs just aren’t there, we know there are skills in demand. And as confidence in our economy rises, we’re hoping small to medium-sized businesses will consider taking on more staff, and that often means trainees and apprentices.
However, our youth are turning away from trades at a time when they are needed more than ever.
At the end of December, there were just under 15,000 apprentices and trainees in training. That’s close to 8 per cent fewer than the previous December, and staggeringly, less than half the number in training in 2013.
In four short years, training numbers have collapsed.
We know that without jobs, young people struggle with self-esteem, they may turn to alcohol or drugs, their mental health can deteriorate and even relationships can breakdown. We all feel valued when we work, and undertaking a training course or apprenticeship is a huge step towards job security and a positive future.
Not everyone is suited for a university degree, and we need to make sure we don’t push our kids towards a future they’re not interested in. Trades, which students can start learning while still at school, can provide a great pathway for young people and an early start to earning a living.
Business SA has a proud history of working with Apprenticeship Support Australia and thousands of local businesses to sign up and support apprentices. We provide advice and help those businesses, tackling issues many face in a tough operating environment.
Given our skilling concerns, the State Government’s decision to sign up to the Federal Government’s Skilling Australia Fund is very positive. With $87 million from the federal fund and $100 million from the State Government, more than 20,000 additional work-based apprenticeships and traineeships will be created over the next four years.
Congratulations to the Marshall Government for taking the decisive step to sign up to the fund and be the first state to do so.
Apprenticeships and traineeships are vital to SA’s economy. Now is the time to start getting more youth into practical skills and industries.
Nigel McBride is chief executive of Business SA.