Tuesday, 16 Oct 2001

Ninety per cent of new apprentices aged 15 to 19 years are retained in employment or have gained new employment within three months of completion of their new apprenticeship.

This employment rate rises to 92% for young adults aged 20 to 24 years, and is slightly higher for adult completors aged 25 years and over, according to a paper presented today at the Australian Council for Educational Research (ACER) conference, Understanding Youth Pathways: What does the research tell us?

Mr Chris Robinson, Managing Director of the National Centre for Vocational Education Research, told the conference that employment rates are especially good for young apprentices if they undertook their off-the-job training at a TAFE institute as part of their apprenticeship.

"The employment rates for apprentices who studied TAFE were 97% for 15 to 19 year olds and 96% for 20 to 24 year olds. For traineeship completors who studied at TAFE, the employment rates are also very high, being 90% and 87% respectively, for these age groups," Mr Robinson said.

"These employment outcome figures compare favourably with those attained from other forms of education and training (73.4% for TAFE courses and 67% for university graduates). However, it needs to be remembered that that all new apprentices already have a job while they are studying, whereas many other TAFE and university students do not. Moreover, some 15% of TAFE graduates and 24% of university graduates go on to further study prior to entering the labour market," Mr Robinson added.

Mr Robinson said that even partial completion of a new apprenticeship provided very good job outcomes for young people. In 2000, the proportions of young people who did not complete their full apprenticeship or traineeship program, but who were employed in an unsubsidised job within three months of leaving their new apprenticeship, was 68% for those aged 15 to 19 years and 70% for 20 to 24 year olds. The employment rate for non-completors aged 25 years and over was slightly higher at 73%.

"As the figures show, new apprenticeships and traineeships are an excellent pathway to jobs, irrespective of the age of the participant," he added.

Mr Robinson said that although weekly full-time starting salaries for apprentices and employees are, on average, slightly higher than for other TAFE graduates ($473 compared to $462), they remain well below those of university graduates ($635).