Get paid to learn and end up on comparable salary to a university graduate – that is the pitch to graduating high school students to consider an apprenticeship or traineeship.

Apprenticeship Support Australia General Manager Nathan Bentley said we know employers are struggling to attract and retain young staff, despite increasing youth unemployment in WA.

“It is crucial that WA is adequately prepared for future economic growth, particularly in key sectors such as agribusiness, construction, defence, manufacturing, energy, resources and tourism,” Mr Bentley said.

“Young people who enjoy hands on work, get satisfaction from standing back and seeing what they have achieved each day, and working in a team with others to get the job done are well suited to a vocational pathway. The skills developed in an apprenticeship or traineeship will be skills for life.”

Today’s pitch follows the release of National Centre for Vocational Education Research showing that WA traineeship and apprenticeship numbers continue to fall, down 9 per cent in the year to 30 June 2017.

Both commencement and completion rates also dropped by 9.5 per cent over the same period.

Apprenticeship Support Australia recently commissioned new research by Skillsroad, Australia’s leading youth and careers platform, to identify the concerns and issues affecting more than 13,200 Australians between the ages of 15-24 when it comes to their transition from school to work.

The survey revealed that 52.3 per cent of young people still at school are planning to attend university, compared with only 15.8 per cent who are considering VET pathways – including apprenticeships and traineeships.

It also identified that young people rank pay as the most important consideration when applying for a job, over career paths that they’re genuinely passionate about, parents were the number one source of career advice for young people, and for those students considering an apprenticeship or traineeship, their biggest concern was finding one (38.5%).

“It is clear that young people need to be able to make informed career choices. We need to educate young people and their parents on all career pathways, their suitability to these, and how and where to pursue them,” Mr Bentley said.

“Many students don’t know that there are more than 500 apprenticeships and traineeships available across a range of industries in almost any field – from business services and hospitality to plumbing and carpentry – or that these careers pay salaries similar to those that university graduates can expect.

“Employment prospects for apprentices and trainees are very strong, with 78 per cent of VET graduates employed after training, with this industry experience often leading to diverse career paths – just look at Fortescue Metals Group’s Nev Power who started out as an apprentice to becoming one of the most respected CEOs in the country.

“I encourage all students, educators, and in particular parents, who are most likely to advise their children, to look into all career paths available to ensure they have the best chance of choosing the path that suits them.”

Apprenticeship Support Australia is powered by the Chamber of Commerce and Industry WA. For more information on apprenticeship and traineeship packages, skills in demand and employer incentive eligibility, go to  or call 1300 363 831.

To read the Skillsroad 2017 Youth Census click here.