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Commencement numbers reach their highest levels in a decade


The number of new apprenticeships and traineeships continued to increase in the March quarter of 2022, with total commencements reaching their highest levels in a decade.


Statistics from NCVER show apprentice and trainee commencements rose to 85,470 in the March quarter, up 23.6% on the number commencing in the March quarter of 2021.


This marked the highest quarterly number of total new commencements since 2012.


The commencement increase was driven by a 41.1% year-on-year rise in non-trade occupations, with trade occupations rising 7.8% compared with the 2021 March quarter.


The largest year-on-year commencement increases were seen in the Accommodation (51%), Manufacturing (37.7%), and Administrative and Support Services (21.7%) sectors.


The increase pushed the total number of apprentices and trainees in training up to 387,830 in the March quarter 2022, an increase of 17.1% compared to the March quarter 2021.


NCVER noted that a growth in female commencements of 35.8% (or 32,445 people) was outpacing males in percentage growth terms, after grew 17.1% (or 53,020 people).


ReadyTech General Manager of Work Pathways, Chris McMillan, said the commencement figures reflected the emphasis being placed on a healthy Australian apprenticeships sector and the appetite of more candidates for undertaking the apprenticeship journey.


“Apprenticeships have, for a long time, been a critical channel for delivering a skilled workforce for Australia. This was affirmed during the Covid-19 pandemic, when commencements and completions were further supported with incentives.”


Commencement numbers have recently been supported by the Boosting Apprenticeship Commencements and Completing Apprenticeship Commencements wage subsidies.


McMillan said the importance given to the sector amplified the need for technology to support the efficiency, compliance and effectiveness of service providers, including Group Training Organisations and Australian Apprenticeship Support Network providers.


“ReadyTech supports efficient management of apprentices through our platform for GTOs, comprising our Ready Recruit and Ready Apprentice solutions, and is used by AASNs Australia-wide. We look forward to supporting the apprenticeships sector with more innovation into the future.”

NCVER found successful completions also grew by 11.5% in March quarter 2022 compared with 2021, with trade and non-trade completions up 9.6% and 13.8% respectively.