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Trades apprentices face delays due to teacher shortage

Posted October 13, 2011, by Josie Chun

A shortage of trades teachers means that apprentices wanting to enter certain trades industries are having to wait for up to a year to receive basic training.

According to EE-Oz, the official skills council for the electrical and energy industries, the teacher shortage has occurred because electricians, mining workers and machine operators have been lured away from teaching by companies in the booming mining and resources industries offering salaries 30 per cent higher than a teacher’s wage. Most public training providers are unable to match the salaries being offered by the resource giants, and so there is a dearth of new teachers entering the field.

A recent survey of TAFE college staff revealed that TAFE colleges are struggling to meet the demands of both students and industry, with 70 per cent of respondents stating that their TAFE did not have the capacity to meet industry needs, particularly in their local community.

Fifty eight per cent of teachers and managers have had to turn away students in the last two years and 46 per cent report student waiting lists, especially in the areas of engineering and related technologies. The primary reason for students being turned away was lack of places.

‘Students are being turned away or forced to wait, in trade areas like engineering where there are critical national skills shortages,’ says Angelo Gavrielatos, Australian Education Union Federal President.

The electrical and energy industries will struggle to make up for the teacher and general skills shortage, with the most serious shortages expected amongst electricians, sewage workers, car manufacturing workers, mine workers and other machine operators.

Josie Chun

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