More Apprentices and Trainees welcome, but imagine if it was not delayed

The Shadow Treasurer Dr Steve Thomas has welcomed the State Government announcement that apprentice and trainee numbers are up, but questioned why this has taken four to five years under the McGowan Government.

“When Mark McGowan came to power in 2017 the state had 34,602 total apprentices and trainees, and while it is great to see that number is now over 47,000, it has taken a long time to rise” Dr Thomas said.

“In fact the numbers initially dropped year on year, before finally picking up in 2021.”

The number of apprentices and trainees according to the Government’s own answers to parliamentary questions were:

End of Year Total Apprentices and Trainees
2016-17 34,602 (final year of the previous Government)
2017-18 31,742
2018-19 29,539
2019-20 28,261
2020-21 38,255
2021-22 47,000 plus

“It is great to see that decline reversed” Dr Thomas said. “But just imagine if there was not a three or four year delay.”

“It takes that long to complete many apprenticeships, so the increase in places this year won’t see an easing of demand for labour for another few years.”

“At the same time that we saw initial declines in apprentice and training numbers in 2017, we also had a Labor State Government that scrapped hundreds of jobs from the skilled migration list. While the Premier has recently backflipped on that decision, it meant then that we saw declines in both training and importing workers.”

“These two effects have combined to give us the massive skills shortages we have today.”

“So I welcome the current increase, but just imagine where we could have been if we hadn’t reduced skilled training and skills importation from 2017 to 2021!”