Warning over skills shortage
INVESTMENT into the trades is needed now to avoid a shortage of skilled workers in the future, according to The Apprentice and Traineeship Company chief executive officer Stan Liaros.
“Recent announcements about the mining sector gearing up again is a stronger reason for concern at a local level, because when they ramp up, what they will be looking for is skilled labour,” he said.
“We need more investment in the trades area to ensure that our skills levels are maintained for whatever our economy throws as a challenge to us as far as growth is concerned.”
Figures from the Department of Training and Workforce Development show the total number of apprentices and trainees in WA fell 10 per cent in the year to March, from 39,629 to 35,631.
Mr Liaros said governments or major stakeholders in industries needed to encourage employers to take on apprentices and bolster the number of skilled workers.
“We need almost a broad brush approach to encourage the engagement of youth, but also the engagement of employers to actually take on and train youth,” he said.
“When it’s lean is the best time to actually be training people to get them prepared for when industry ramps up again.”
South Regional TAFE managing director Duncan Anderson said there was no indication to suggest “material change” in the region, but the college had critical industry links to ensure it was “positioned to support skills required now and into the future”.