Last month, the Queensland Chamber of Commerce and Industry (CCIQ) released a statistics report based on its research on Australian apprentices and trainees as at December 2016. The data was significant, and revealed what many analysts had been predicting for years – the number of apprentices that complete traineeships have significantly declined, and the tradie industry is in high demand for workers.

Australia-wide, the number of completed apprenticeships / traineeships fell by 25, 000, from 52, 900 in 2011. The state that suffered the greatest tradie decline was New South Wales, where the number of completed apprenticeships fell by 11, 700 since June 2013. Looking to Queensland, the number of Queenslanders who have completed apprenticeships have halved since June 2013, falling from 15, 700 to 6, 200 in December 2016.

This vast decline in tradie numbers has been heralded by some as a sign of the changing times. The Daily Telegraph reported that many tradies are now persuading their children to pursue careers that are outside of the blue-collar path. These parents believe that a university degree will be more beneficial than a trade, and are encouraging their children to succeed with a tertiary education.

While well-meaning tradie parents may be part of the problem, CCIQ General Manager Kate Whittle indicated that the lack of encouragement from schools may be a bigger contributor. Whittle suggested that Queensland government programs should educate students on ‘growth industries and skills needed for jobs in the new economy’.

With several major construction projects underway in Brisbane, the tradie industry, and especially the construction industry, is undeniably growing. The demand for blue-collar workers will only increase, especially since the number of tradies that are merely in-training is also decreasing. The CCIQ report found that in June 2012, 107, 400 students in Queensland were training to complete an apprenticeship, compared to only 56, 100 in December 2016.

These decreasing numbers could have a larger affect on customers. The fall in the number of tradies could render the work more expensive, as the demand remains but the workers available to meet the demand have decreased, creating a pricier service.

The Palaszczuk Government has stated that several steps have been taken to encourage an increase in apprenticeships. One such step includes the payroll tax rebate, which was initiated in July 2015 to create a more affordable landscape for employers to hire apprentices.

The opposition’s solution includes a $5, 000 incentive delivered in three instalments which will be given to Queensland businesses that employ apprentices until their training has been completed.

The opposition would aim to create 10, 000 new apprentices in a time-span of 4 years. However, the number of potential tradies that Queensland, and the country, may lose between now and the Government’s goal-year may be disastrous for the tradie industry.

With the ever-growing number of projects that are undergoing in Brisbane, and the declining number of tradies, there is no better time than now to consider a career in the tradie industry. If you’re interested in a career in the labour industry, sign up to Betta People today to get ahead and meet the demand.