Apprenticeship commencements down in March quarter 2020

Media release

14 September 2020

Latest national data shows apprentice and trainee commencements were down 11.0 per cent (to 49 015) in the March quarter 2020 when compared with the same quarter in 2019.

Apprentices and trainees 2020 — March quarter 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.

NCVER Managing Director Simon Walker said that while the underlying March quarter data shows some early indicators of COVID-19’s impact (particularly in the month of March), it won’t be until the June quarter that we get a true sense of how the pandemic has affected apprenticeship and traineeship activity.

“Numbers of those commencing apprenticeships or traineeships in trade occupations were down 9.8 per cent in the March quarter 2020, with the biggest decreases seen in food trades workers, down 20.4 per cent, and construction trades workers, down 13 per cent.

“Commencements in non-trade occupations also showed a decrease, down 12.4 per cent compared with March quarter 2019, with the biggest declines seen in hospitality, retail and service managers, down 67.7 per cent, enquiry clerks and receptionists, down 41.5 per cent, and sales assistants and salespersons, down 29 per cent.”

Apprentice and trainee completion numbers were also down in the March quarter 2020, showing a 1.3 per cent decrease when compared with the same quarter in 2019.

“This decline in overall completions was driven by a 4.2 per cent decrease in people completing training in non-trade occupations,” Mr Walker said.

“However completions in trade occupations showed a small increase, up 1.9 per cent compared with the same quarter in 2019.”

Overall, there were 272 505 apprentices and trainees in-training as at 31 March 2020, down 2.9 per cent from 31 March 2019.

REPORT: Australian VET statistics: Apprentices and trainees 2020 — March quarter

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About NCVER: we are the main 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 Employment, Skills, Small and Family Business.