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Apprentices feel mining slowdown in the Hunter

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The Hunter Valley Training Company say the slowdown in the mining industry has forced it to look for apprentices and traineeships in other sectors.

HTVC chief Sharon Smith said the softening in both mining and manufacturing meant businesses were less likely to put on apprentices, ABC reported.

"I think the concern's been about the economy in general and our region has a fairly dependency of the mining-related sector as well," Smith said.

"That has dropped off and that's put pressure on the traditional type businesses that would have put on apprentices and trainees in our area. “

The company is urging the newly-elected Coalition  government to introduce policies that will strengthen skills training organisations.

Smith said group training helped to develop skills and create jobs, enabling thousands of Australians to advance their careers through apprenticeships and traineeships.

Smith said one of the ways to boost skills training was to provide increased Government incentives for employers, making it more attractive and affordable to put on apprentices and trainees.

“While we welcome any funding assistance provided to a young person interested in undertaking an apprenticeship or traineeship, there needs to be more Government support and incentives for businesses to put on trainees and apprentices. Afterall, it’s the employers who create the training and employment opportunities needed to skill our future generations,” Smith said.

A report released earlier this year by the Minerals Council of Australia, together with the National Centre for Vocational Education Research (NCVER), claimed the mining industry spent more than $1.15 billion on training over the last two years.

Almost 98% of this training expenditure was said  industry-funded, with only 2% coming from government subsidies.

Currently, apprentices and trainees make up around 5 per cent of the total mining workforce in Australia.

Of this number, around 13 per cent of apprentices and trainees are Indigenous Australians and 15 per cent are women.

However the CMFEU’s Stephen Smyth said there had not been enough investment in skills training for local workers in regional communities.

"A report by the Workforce Development and Productivity Agency last year highlighted that a third of 15 to 19-year-olds are out of work and that many companies don't want to take time to train them,” Smyth said.

Smith said HTVC was broadening the scope of training placements offered to offset to mining slowdown.

"We're constantly diversifying the base and looking for A to Z of traineeships and apprenticeships across the whole spectrum,” she said.

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