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Media Release: Students rise to vocational education and training opportunities

As the school year draws to a close and students across the region consider their options for 2016, the Minister for Skills, John Barilaro, has announced that the number of students who are taking the opportunity to start a vocational qualification while at school, are on the rise.

Mr Barilaro said compared to last year, more school students are choosing to study an apprenticeship with the number of students taking up school based apprenticeships rising 12.5 per cent in the past twelve months.

“Our state economy relies on a skilled workforce every day to build the roads, hospitals and schools – from construction to computing, there is a great variety of skills students can learn,” Mr Barilaro said.

TAFE New England has one of the highest participation rates in School Based Traineeships and Apprenticeships in New South Wales. As a result of completing their TVET studies at TAFE New England, 11 students will commence apprenticeships in 2016.

Head Teacher of Construction, Grant Petersen, said “There is definitely a community perception that there has been a downturn in the economy, and this can make businesses hesitant to take on new staff.”

It’s not ‘easy’ to get an apprenticeship, but persistence usually pays off, and smart businesses continue to recognise that training their own apprentices is an effective and affordable way of bringing on new staff, and instilling the values and practices of a business in employees early on”. 

Industries showing year-on-growth in apprenticeships include Building and Construction (14.2%), Primary Industry (12.5%), Furnishing, Light Manufacturing, Textile (10.9%) and Utilities and Electro Technology (10.5%).

The NSW Government is investing $10 million to give students fee-free pre-traineeship and pre-apprenticeship courses as a “try before you buy” model. Fee-free courses are available for enrolment at TAFE New England now.