Data released by the National Centre for Vocational Education Research (NCVER) has confirmed the Coalition’s strong record on skills and training, with apprenticeships remaining at record highs in 2021.

The latest data from NCVER shows there were 349,235 apprentices and trainees in-training as at 31 December 2021, 16.8 per cent higher than at the same time in 2020. The number of trade apprentices in-training was also up 12 per cent over the year and hit 216,265, demonstrating numbers were at record highs under the Coalition.

Significantly, NCVER attributed the ongoing strength of the state of the Australian skills sector to the former Coalition Government’s policies when Managing Director Simon Walker said “the number of apprentices and trainees in-training remain higher than in recent years largely as a result of the Australian Government’s Boosting Apprenticeship Commencements wage subsidy.

The Coalition budgeted for ongoing record investment in skills this year including;

• $2.4 billion from 1 July 2022 to upskill apprentices by making employers eligible for 10 per cent wage subsidies in the first two years of hiring a new apprentice and a further 5 per cent in the third year;

• An extra $3.7 billion for skills training that could support an additional 800,000 training places through a new National Skills Agreement, and;

• The Skills and Training Boost, allowing small businesses with annual turnover less than $50 million to access a new bonus 20 per cent deduction for the cost of external training courses delivered by registered training providers.

Deputy Leader of the Opposition and Shadow Minister for Industry, Skills and Training Sussan Ley said NCVER’s official update was a warning to the Albanese Government to honour investments for skills, apprenticeships and trainees in full or risk these figures becoming a high-water mark.

“Today’s data demonstrates the Coalition delivered record high numbers of apprentices taking up trades, it shows we got the skills and industry settings right and it is proof-positive that Mr Albanese should keep our policies in place.”

“Mr Albanese’s plans to abolish our construction industry watchdog and balance his budget by cutting skills and industry programs are deeply concerning and will be catastrophic for our country’s efforts to meet the workforce challenges before us.”