1st May, 2014

More tradies needed, says minister

A government minister has called for more apprenticeships and training for tradies, claiming the industry is set to experience a skills gap in the near future.

Sussan Ley, assistant minister for education, is a NSW MP and highlighted how the state is suffering in particular, but added that it's a nationwide problem.

Ms Ley said just 0.5 per cent of teenagers aged between 15 and 19 in NSW were enrolled in school-based apprenticeships, which is around one in every 200. The national average is not much higher at 1.5 per cent, despite a need for quality plasterers, plumbers, electricians, carpenters and bricklayers.

According to the minister, changes need to be made to the vocational education and training in schools (VETiS) portfolio in order to encourage more students to enter the trades.

"It's no secret we need more tradies in this country. Yet the current national VETiS framework, which is meant to be delivering the next generation of skilled labour, hasn't been updated in over a decade," she explained.

"The real focus needs to be on the quality of career advice, training and real-life work experience being offered to our kids."

Ms Ley added that students must be given a range of options, rather than only being encouraged to join university. In some cases, children may feel that taking up a trade is "playing on the 'B' team", she argued.

"This is no different to building a house – you have to understand the lay of the land before you can build a solid framework."

A lack of skilled workers could have serious ramifications for the trades and construction industries. And even with qualified tradies, mistakes and accidents can happen, which is why it is so important to have comprehensive tradesman insurance to keep you covered across a range of potential incidents.

Author: Murray Bruce