Bottoming out

Training numbers are down, again

The estimable National Centre for Vocational Education Research reports yet another decline in the decline of combined apprentice and trainee numbers. In the March quarter 275 000 people were in training, down 3.7 per cent on the previous year. However, there is at least one sign that the long drop in numbers is ending, with commencements effectively stable year on year, down just 0.1 per cent to 56 000.

Even so, it looks like more evidence that the training system is broken, but only because trainee and apprentice numbers are combined. According to the Mitchell Institute, apprentice numbers are steady over decades, the big falls are in traineeships, which are driven by government subsidies (CMM August 21).