Starting 1 July 2018, the NSW Government began offering 100,000 fee-free apprenticeships and traineeships as part of the Smart and Skilled program. The number of students enrolled in these courses grew by 9.5 per cent in the first half of 2018.
Compared to the same period in 2017, the following qualifications have some of the highest enrolments:
- construction with 3400 students – 29 per cent growth
- carpentry with 7800 students – 15 per cent growth
- electrotechnology electrician with 9100 students – 14 per cent growth.
The growth in NSW apprenticeships is also creating more opportunities for disadvantaged groups. The number of Aboriginal students in NSW rose 7.5 per cent in the first half of 2018 compared with a national decline of 1.7 per cent. There are also 30,100 students with a disability in government-supported apprenticeships, 42 per cent of the national total.
Deputy Premier and Minister for Skills John Barilaro said NSW has 74,300 apprentices and trainees doing off-the-job training which is 34 per cent of the national figure and the highest in the nation.
“The results reflect growth in the NSW economy and show that employers see apprenticeships and traineeships as critical to that growth, while students see them as a pathway to valued employment,” Mr Barilaro said.
“With our recent $285 million investment to make all apprenticeships fee-free over the next four years, we expect many more people to take up apprenticeships.”