The Courier-Mail

Teens not keen de­spite suc­cess rate

- ME­LANIE BURGESS

YOUNG job­seek­ers are turn­ing their backs on trades de­spite a skills short­ages and strong em­ploy­ment prospects.

The num­ber of young peo­ple tak­ing up trade train­ing has dropped by al­most half in the past two years as would-be tradies are lured to univer­sity study in­stead.

And of those who do choose vo­ca­tional train­ing, only a low num­ber stay the course.

More stu­dents are en­rolling in univer­sity de­grees, de­spite lower em­ploy­ment prospects af­ter grad­u­a­tion.

Univer­si­ties recorded 569,064 com­mence­ments in 2014 – up from 509,766 in 2012 – the Aus­tralian Bureau of Sta­tis­tics has found.

The same pe­riod recorded just 192,000 ap­pren­tice­ships and trainee­ships start­ing, down from 330,500, Na­tional Cen­tre for Vo­ca­tional Ed­u­ca­tion Re­search sta­tis­tics show.

Skill­sOne chief ex­ec­u­tive Brian Wex­ham said vo­ca­tional train­ing was an “in” to many de­sir­able jobs. “We know it’s un­der­val­ued and it shouldn’t be,” he said. “I would en­cour­age more peo­ple to put their ‘let’s ex­plore’ hat on and look at all the op­por­tu­ni­ties in vo­ca­tional ed­u­ca­tion and the ca­reers that ex­tend from that.”

There are 64 tra­di­tional trades on the Fed­eral Gov­ern­ment’s Na­tion­als Skills Needs List, rang­ing from ar­borists and brick­lay­ers to car­pen­ters and cooks.

Grad­u­ate trainees are more likely to get jobs more quickly. In 2014, less than 15 per cent of ap­pren­tice­ship and trainee­ship grad­u­ates could not find a job within six months of com­plet­ing their qual­i­fi­ca­tion, Depart­ment of Em­ploy­ment re­port Aus­tralian Jobs 2015 re­veals.

Those with a cer­tifi­cate III had the best em­ploy­ment prospects, with 86.6 per cent in work soon af­ter grad­u­a­tion, fol­lowed by those with a diploma or higher (85.5 per cent).

Bach­e­lor- de­gree grad­u­ates, by com­par­i­son, had a 68.1 per cent chance of find­ing full­time em­ploy­ment within four months of com­plet­ing their de­gree – the low­est up­take since at least 1990, ac­cord­ing to GradS­tats.

Third-year car­pen­try ap­pren­tice Lara No­bel, who also has a mas­ters de­gree in ar­chi­tec­ture, said more peo­ple should con­sider a vo­ca­tional path­way.

“So­ci­ety puts pres­sure on, say­ing that all smart peo­ple go to uni and that is not true at all. There are a hell of a lot of smart peo­ple at TAFE and there are dif­fer­ent types of smart,” she said.

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