Fourth-year apprentice diesel fitter Frank Lunn, with MRAEL apprentice specialist Kylie Bollard, reviews his paperwork as he nears the end of his apprenticeship.
Fourth-year apprentice diesel fitter Frank Lunn, with MRAEL apprentice specialist Kylie Bollard, reviews his paperwork as he nears the end of his apprenticeship. Lee Constable

Slump in apprenticeships 'is very scary' for school leavers

SCHOOL leavers will struggle to find apprenticeships next year as businesses cut down on hiring entry-level employees as a way to cut costs.

In the lead-up to the end of the year, businesses usually advertise for apprentices to be taken on in the new year.

However, a shortfall in Mackay has left apprentice and trainee company TORGAS branch supervisor Shelagh Davidson concerned.

She said the slump in apprenticeships had only occurred this year.

"I just know the numbers are lower," she said.

"We're getting a couple but it's nothing like what it has been in recent years.

"It is very scary."

Apprenticeship group MRAEL has only two Mackay-based apprenticeships listed on its website and TORGAS has one. Job search provider Seek has only six listed for Mackay.

It is understood Mackay Sugar is among businesses that have cut back to the point where they will not be taking on any new apprentices next year.

While it is understood the company employed 10 new apprentices in January last year, a spokeswoman would not confirm their specific plans for next year.

Instead, the company released a statement saying: "Mackay Sugar will continue to offer apprenticeships in the future; however it is too early to determine the timing and numbers at this stage".

>>FIND a new job here.

The lack of apprenticeships has also left school leavers worried.

Ms Davidson said there weren't many people inquiring about apprenticeships anymore because they were hard to come by.

"I know, for the bigger places, people have gone doorknocking and putting their resumes in but are being told (the business) wouldn't be doing anything until early next year."

The problem was being felt across the state, Ms Davidson said. However, she said the slump would have to end.

"I think stay positive, make sure you've got a good resume and obviously keep trying and keep approaching businesses. Surely it will turn around eventually."


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