Downturn put only a small dent in future supply of tradies

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Updated: September 30, 2011

Bricklayers can earn over 70k a year but are in short supply. Picture-HIA

The economic downturn of 2008-2009 has only had a minor impact on the supply of skilled tradespeople, despite a significant number of trade apprentices or trainees suffering job loss or redundancy.

New research released by the National Centre for Vocational Education Research (NCVER) finds that it only took a year and a half for apprentice and trainee commencements to return to their pre-downturn level.

Dr Tom Karmel, Managing Director, NCVER said a quick economic recovery has seen the number of people beginning an apprenticeship or traineeship increase.

“The number of trade apprentices who started their training decreased by 20% between March 2008 and March 2009”, Dr Karmel said.

“But numbers recovered to pre-downturn levels by March 2010. Historically this is a very quick turnaround.

“This resurgence in apprentice commencements means that the impact of the downturn on Australia’s trades workforce will be minimal, reducing the supply of tradespeople by less than one percent.

“It may well have been a different story if the downturn had gone longer.”

For a full analysis on the current employment climate for tradies and where the demands are see WTW OCT/NOV