Apprentice and trainee numbers down

Media release

8 June 2017

Latest quarterly figures by the National Centre for Vocational Education Research (NCVER) show the number of people starting an apprenticeship or traineeship has continued to decline.

Overall there were 33 800 (trade and non-trade) commencements in the December 2016 quarter, down 6.5% compared with the December 2015 quarter.

Trade commencements decreased by 9.1% (1400) to 14 300. Despite this decline, commencements in occupations such as plumbers, bricklayers, and carpenters and joiners remained steady.

Non-trade commencements also declined, down 4.6% (900) to 19 500, with the biggest declines seen in sales assistants and salespersons, factory process workers and other clerical and administrative workers.

There was also a decline in the number of apprentices and trainees in-training, with 265 000 in-training as at 31 December 2016, a decrease of 4.5% from 31 December 2015.

Australian vocational education and training statistics: Apprentices and trainees 2016, December quarter is available from:

This work has been produced by NCVER on behalf of the Australian Government and state and territory governments, with funding provided through the Department of Education and Training.

NCVER is the national custodian of data about Australia’s VET system, including apprentice and trainee data. It is a not-for-profit, independent company owned by the Commonwealth, state and territory Ministers responsible for training.

Media enquiries: Deanne Loan, T: 08 8230 8496, M: 0413 523 691