Gladstone apprentices feel the pinch with less jobs on offer
APPRENTICES are finding it tougher to land positions in Gladstone's workshops, with a declining local economy combined with competition from "mega-industries" meaning traditional training grounds are being lost.
With youth unemployment rising in Queensland, apprenticeships are a key pathway for the future, but they are becoming scarcer in Gladstone.
"A lot of the engineering workshops and places like that have lost staff to mega-industries, so they're struggling to have enough people to supervise an apprentice," Gladstone Area Group Apprentices Limited general manager Leigh Zimmerman said.
She said while mega-industries such as LNG had been a boon for apprentices, it was also attracting qualified staff away from workshops in Gladstone.
The net effect was a decline in apprenticeships on offer.
Gladstone Engineering Alliance general manager Carli Hobbs said less work for workshops in town invariably meant fewer apprentices were being put on.
"We've been very lucky in Gladstone that our economy is very strong and there's been plenty of work, but we are starting to see the same pressures as the rest of Australia," Ms Hobbs said.
Earlier this month Boyne Smelters put on 14 apprentices, trawling through 350 applications to do so.
About 90% of the applications were from Gladstone, with one of the few who won positions - Josh Stevens - saying it wasn't luck, but rather good preparation which won him the role.
"I did two years with a training program called EQIP, so it was definitely that preparation which managed to get me the role," he said.
GAGAL's top five tips for school leavers:
- Concentrate on Maths and English in school
- Practice with tools when you can
- Talk to group training organizations early
- Keep in touch with them
- Make sure an apprenticeship you're offered is what you really want. You're there for four years.