There’s bad news for VET

Probably to be followed by worse news

The estimable National Centre for Vocational Education Research reports apprentice and trainee numbers were down in the March quarter. Starts were 145 000 –14 per cent lower than the 170 000 in the March quarter of 2016.

By employer category the only growth was in government, up 1.2 per cent on 2019, with the private sector down 7.7 per cent and group training schemes down 12 per cent. Construction took the biggest hit by industry, down 14.3 per cent on 2019.

And the grimness will get grimmer; “it won’t be until the June quarter that we get a true sense of the pandemic’s effect on apprenticeship and traineeship activity,” NCVER’s managing director Simon Walker says.