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Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Trainee figures decline steeply

The Mercury: Trainee figures decline steeply [01dec05]

THE number of new apprentices and trainees in Tasmania plummeted by 10 per cent in the past year _ despite a skills shortage in the state.

It made Tasmania the worst performing state in the nation, with new apprentices and trainees rising on average by 4 per cent across Australia.

The Tasmanian Chamber of Commerce and Industry said the poor result was a wake-up call.

TCCI employment, education and training unit manager Jodie Stevenson said the Government needed to boost the profile of apprenticeships and offer more school-based training.

She said Tasmania had a skills shortage and apprenticeships and traineeships could address the problem.

``We can do better and we should be doing better,'' she said.

But Education Minister Paula Wriedt said Tasmania's decline in new apprenticeships had been from a historically high level.

``The decline in training commencements in Tasmania was mainly in positions such as secretaries, clerks, cleaners, keyboard operators and sales assistants,'' Ms Wriedt said.

``This should not be cause for alarm as there aren't skills shortages in these areas and there are still thousands of Tasmanians undertaking training to fill these positions.''

The trainee figures, for the 12 months to June 2005, were released by the National Centre for Vocational Education Research.

The best-performing state was the Northern Territory, with a 29 per cent rise in new apprenticeships, followed by Western Australia with an 11 per cent rise.

The most popular in-training package in Tasmania was business (14.2 per cent), followed by retail (9.4 per cent) and hospitality (9.3 per cent).

Ms Stevenson said the areas of retail and hospitality had particular skills shortages.





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