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

Apprenticeship Support Australia General Manager Nathan Bentley says 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,” Bentley says.

“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.”

The pitch follows the recent release of data by the National Centre for Vocational Education Research that shows 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. It also found that parents were the number one source of career advice for young people and that the biggest concern of students considering an apprenticeship or traineeship was finding one (38.5 per cent).

“It is clear that young people need to be able to make informed career choices,” Bentley says.

“We need to educate young people and their parents on all career pathways, their suitability to these, and how and where to pursue them.”

“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. This industry experience can often lead to diverse career paths – just look at Fortescue Metals Group’s Nev Power who started out as an apprentice and became one of the most respected CEOs in the country.

“I encourage all students, educators and parents to look into all career paths available”.

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.