The Courier-Mail

Teens not keen despite success rate


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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