Australia is facing a huge shortage of tradies and this includes plumbers.
A recent report from the Department of Education found that apprenticeships and traineeships across the nation have declined by 33 percent between 2013 and 2019. In South Australia, apprenticeships have fallen by more than 50 percent. This includes plumbers.
According to Shadow Education Minister Tanya Plibersek, apprenticeships under Labor had never dropped below 400,000, but are now sitting at around 270,000 (source).
So why is this happening and what does this mean in real terms for people who need work completed on their home or business?
Plumbing Shortage: What Does It Mean?
Reports in the media suggest that in some parts of the country it is next to impossible to find builders, plumbers, bricklayers and carpenters. And when they are available, prices are skyrocketing.
It appears that young Australians are opting for university degrees over a trade, despite the better job prospects and higher wages that come with choosing a trade.
Ultimately, homeowners will have to pay more for tradies and wait longer to find one who is available. Neither option is ideal.
So, how do we fix it? Recent funding cuts to apprenticeships haven’t helped.
Funding Cuts To Apprenticeships
According to Australian Apprenticeships, any apprentice that undertakes a qualification that leads to an occupation listed onThe National Skills Needs List will be eligible for a range of incentives and loans.
However, just last month The ACT Government covertly cut subsidies for vocational programs, leading to widespread criticism from training providers and professional bodies including The Master Builders Association.
“The construction industry employs around 20,000 Canberrans and already has skills shortages across a number of trades” – Master Builders Association of the ACT chief executive Michael Hopkins
Mr Hopkins then went on to say that carpentry (subsidies cut from $11,400 to $8910) and plumbing (subsidies cut from $14,810 to $11,590) would suffer the most.
What really needs to happen is a shift in attitude. We need to let young people know that trades are a good career option, both in terms of earning capacity and job satisfaction.
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