Youth hit hard as apprenticeships plummet: report
STARK new findings reveal around 54,000 predominantly young people will not have the opportunity to work in 2020, due to the plummeting number of apprenticeships available.
The number of apprentices commencing this year will be more than 30 per cent lower than in 2019 because of the impact of Covid-19 according to the new report from Business NSW.
This marks another blow for the Coffs/Clarence region, which had seen its shocking youth unemployment rate drastically improve from 23.3 per to cent to 12.9 per cent within a year prior to the pandemic.
Business NSW Regional Manager, Mid North Coast, Kellon Beard said an immediate intervention was needed to rescue work opportunities for young people.
"We knew that apprentices were doing it tough, but we hadn't realised how tough," Mr Beard said.
"That's 54,000 predominantly young people missing out on the opportunity to upskill, re-skill and get a job.
"Without significant intervention, the number of apprentices in training in 2021 will fall to levels not seen since 1998 and are unlikely to recover until 2025, even if the economy is on the path to recovery."
The report has found that since the pandemic around 4.4 per cent of apprenticeships have been cancelled, 2.8 per cent suspended and 4.4 per cent stood down, with a further 20 per cent not being gainfully employed.
Among a number of recommendations, Business NSW is urging the government to provide employers with a subsidy of up to 90 per cent for new starter apprentice wages.
The government's Supporting Apprentices and Trainees subsidy, a 50 per cent subsidy available to small businesses, will expire at the end of September.
"Given the scale of the impact, government must act now to make any inroads into turning the trend around," Mr Beard said.
"The highly-effective Supporting Apprentices and Trainees subsidy needs to continue past its 1 October expiry date and be phased out over the next year."
Another recommendation in the report is for the government to develop a national industry-led pre-apprenticeship program.
"Covid-19 has had a huge impact on businesses, with many still willing but incapable of providing training opportunities," Mr Beard said.
He says taking action now will help the current and future generations of young people gain the skills they need to avoid a life on welfare.
"We can't leave it five years before doing anything. By then, it will be far too late."
The recent Skillsroad survey has found that overall 43 per cent of young people working prior to Covid-19 had been either stood down or become unemployed as a result of the pandemic.
Young people in the hospitality industry had been the worst affected, followed by those working in retail.