Apprenticeships have long been a cornerstone of training and skill development in the Australian construction industry. Since numbers peaked in 2012, uptake of trade and non-trade apprenticeships have been in decline in Australia. Alarmingly, according to AIHW data from 2018, of the 161,700 apprenticeships that commenced that year, more of them were cancelled or withdrawn (92,900) than completed (89,700).
Construction is one of the only industries where the numbers have been consistent, and supporting employers to take on apprentices is a major priority to fill key skill shortages.
According to Icon Metal’s Project Director, Chris Farmer, himself a former trade apprentice:
“Apprenticeships offer a great opportunity for practically minded people to advance their education. Learning with experienced tradespeople, combined with classroom theory, produces highly skilled, work-ready employees.”
Icon Metal are currently supporting three apprentices throughout their training. We talked to Tom in our workshop about his experiences:
I enjoy catching up with my friends on the weekend. Going out for dinner & movies. I also enjoy gaming with friends on the PC.
I'm doing a TAFE apprenticeship.
After leaving school in year 10, I was able to secure an apprenticeship with Icon Metal who were willing to put me through a TAFE course. This apprenticeship will support me financially and I won’t have a debt at the end of the course, unlike Uni.
I’m in my 3rd year of 4 years. The 4th year is done in the factory.
Cert III in Engineering & Fabrication.
Yes, I’m looking forward to continuing working at Icon Metal.
To continue to work at Icon Metal and further my skills and education in fabrication. Long term I would like to progress in the company and gain more experience.
Yes I would recommend apprenticeships, as they give you the platform to grow your career in your chosen field.
We acknowledge the Darug people as the Traditional Owners of the lands on which we work.
We respect and recognise their spiritual connection and knowledge of these lands, waters and communities.
We pay respects to their cultures and Elders past, present and emerging.