Can apprentices make up for these 2018 skills shortages?

Did you know that in December 2017, 50 per cent of businesses had trouble finding workers with the right skills? That was the case according to the quarterly business survey from NAB. The Department of Jobs and Small Business recently released their quarterly report on skills shortages in Australia – and what it outlined was a widespread shortage of skills at a national level.

This means that employers are unable to find workers with the right skill set for vacant roles. With a lack of experienced professionals available, the next step is to train up workers to fill these positions. An Australian Apprenticeship is the most effective way of doing this. So, what industries are experiencing skills shortages and how can apprentices fill these roles?

What does a skills shortage mean for industry?

Before we answer those questions, it's important to consider what a skills shortage means. 2017 saw record growth for the number of jobs in Australia, and it's important to note that a skills shortage doesn't happen because there aren't enough people seeking employment. Rather, the skills people have are mismatched to the jobs available.

It's not that there are fewer workers than before, it's that certain industries have grown beyond the pool of talent available.

Some industries are experiencing rapid growth due to changes in the way people live. For example, take renewable energy and technology – both of these areas now require more workers than ever before. Renewable energy is now a huge industry due to a shift in public discourse around the importance of sustainability. Likewise, the tech sector is growing at an unprecedented rate as technological development opens ever-increasing doors of possibility. These industries have grown well beyond the pool of talent available.

Without enough skilled workers, industries can stagnate. A lack of workers means there is only so much potential for growth, and in some cases they won't be able to meet the demand for products and services. This can put businesses in tricky situations – reducing productivity and losing their competitive edge. 

How can skills shortages impact industry?

How can apprentices address this?

Hiring an apprentice to train under you means you'll be taking initiative and contributing what you can to address skills shortages in your industry. There are multiple reasons why apprentices and trainees are an ideal way to address skills gaps, but here are the big three.

1) Passing your knowledge and experience down to the next generation ensures the continuation of your trade. You won't just be addressing skills shortages as they exist today, you'll also be equipping your industry with quality workers for the future. There is of course the argument that disruption may cause a pivot in your industry, but keep in mind that disruption is the exception, not the rule. Can society function without your business or businesses like it? If the answer is no, then taking on an apprentice is a key step in future-proofing your industry.

Apprentices trained in-house stay with a company much longer than skilled employees hired for a particular role.

2) Studies have shown that apprentices trained in-house stay with a company much longer than skilled employees hired for a particular role. When an apprentice or trainee is given the opportunity to learn key skills as part of a business, they are far more likely to be committed to its goals. Because you took a chance on them, they remain loyal to you. The benefit here is that in addition to strengthening the future of your industry, you're also ensuring that your business will have the dedicated workers required for continued success. Staff retention can be difficult in highly competitive industries, and a skills shortage means that experienced workers are in higher demand. Training an apprentice is one of the best ways to keep your most valuable staff on hand.

3) As your business grows and your existing staff find themselves with more to do, an apprentice or trainee can be delegated smaller tasks while they are training. Having an extra set of hands can go a long way towards reducing job-related stress among your more senior employees. Ultimately, an apprentice becomes an additional resource for you to utilise when all hands are on deck.

How can hiring apprentice future-proof your industry?Hiring an apprentice helps to ensure the ongoing success of your business as well as the industry at large.

Which industries are experiencing skills shortages in 2018?

This is not a short list, nor is it the whole list. For brevity's sake, we have included only those with shortages in every state. The following industries are currently experiencing shortages according to the Australian Government's Department of Jobs and Small Business.

Automotive and engineering:

  • Auto-electricians
  • Mechanics
  • Panel beaters
  • Vehicle painters
  • Sheetmetal workers
  • Welders
  • Metal fitters and machinists
  • Locksmiths

Construction trades:

  • Bricklayers
  • Stonemasons
  • Carpenters and joiners
  • Painters
  • Glaziers
  • Plasterers
  • Roofers
  • Wall and floor tilers
  • Plumbers
  • Cabinetmakers

Food trades:

  • Bakers
  • Pastry chefs
  • Butchers

Other notable trades:

  • Surveyors
  • Arborists
  • Hairdressers
  • Audiologists

If you work in any of these trades, own or run a business employing people with these skills, now is the perfect time to bring in an apprentice or trainee. By partnering with MAS National you'll have access to free advertisement of the role, applicant screening, and ongoing support. Let us help you find the perfect apprentice to ensure your business, as well as larger industry, has the right people with the right talent moving forward. Get in contact with us today.