Apprentice and trainee commencements and completions down

Media release

5 March 2019

The latest release of national apprentice and trainee data shows there were 34 290 commencements in the September 2018 quarter, down 5.0% compared with the September quarter in 2017.

Non-trade commencements decreased by 8.3% to 19 145 in the September 2018 quarter, with the biggest decreases seen in sales assistants and salespersons (down 36.2%) and machine and stationary plant operators (down 37.2%), when compared with the September 2017 quarter.

Trade commencements also decreased slightly, down 0.5% to 15 140 in the September 2018 quarter, with the main decreases seen in construction trades workers (down 11.4%) and other technicians and trades workers (down 14.7%), when compared with the September 2017 quarter.

Completions were also down in the September 2018 quarter, decreasing 9.6% to 20 765 when compared with the same quarter in 2017.

Cancellations and withdrawals increased to 23 725 in the September 2018 quarter, up 2.4% when compared with the September 2017 quarter. The biggest attrition was seen in trade occupations, where cancellations and withdrawals increased by 9.4% to 13 705.

Overall there were 267 385 apprentices and trainees in-training as at 30 September 2018, down 0.6% from 30 September 2017 and down 8.2% in the three years from 30 September 2015.

The report Apprentices and trainees 2018 — September quarter, published by the National Centre for Vocational Education Research (NCVER), is available from

It provides a national picture of apprenticeship and traineeship activity and includes both quarterly and annual figures that can be broken down by state and territory.

A range of related data products, including the apprentices and trainees estimates review dashboard have also been updated and are now available.

About NCVER: we are the principal provider of research, statistics and data on Australia’s VET sector. Our services help promote better understanding of VET and assist policy-makers, practitioners, industry, training providers, and students to make informed decisions.

This work has been produced by NCVER on behalf of the Australian Government and state and territory governments, with funding provided through the Australian Government Department of Education and Training.

Enquiries: Helen Wildash, PR and Social Media Officer M: 0448 043 148 E: