Apprentice and trainee numbers grow

Media release

19 October 2021

The most recent data on apprentice and trainee training activity show a strong increase in commencements in the March quarter 2021. Compared with the March quarter 2020:

  • Total commencements increased 35.4% to 66 635
  • The total number of apprentices and trainees in-training as at 31 March 2021 increased by 20.7% to 329 585.

Apprentices and trainees 2021 – March quarter provides a national picture of apprenticeship and trainee activity, including both quarterly and annual figures that can be broken down by state and territory.

Commencements increased across trade (33.3%) and non-trade occupations (37.8%) when compared with the same quarter in 2020, with the largest absolute increases seen in construction trade workers, clerical and administrative workers, and community and personal service workers.

Across industry sectors, the largest absolute increases were in construction, accommodation, and health care and social assistance.

It was a different story for completions, with the number of completions in the March quarter 2021 down 1.2% for trade occupations and down 17.5% for non-trade occupations compared with the same quarter in 2020.

The COVID-19 pandemic and government stimulus responses have had big impacts on apprenticeship and traineeship numbers over the last 18 months, with notable increases and decreases in commencements, suspensions and completions at various stages of the pandemic. Due to the unusual trends in activity during this period, it will take some time before the full effects on the outcomes of training become clear, and these data should be interpreted with caution.

Data products and resources for this release:

Related information:

Enquiries: Deanne Loan M: 0413 523 691    E:

About NCVER: we are the main provider of research, statistics and data on Australia’s VET sector. Our services help promote better understanding of VET and assist policy makers, practitioners, industry, training providers, and students to make informed decisions.

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