Too hot to work: apprenticeships go begging

Sunshine Coast carpentry apprentice Amelia Robertson slogs it out on the job.
Sunshine Coast carpentry apprentice Amelia Robertson slogs it out on the job. Contributed

AN APPRENTICESHIP organisation has blamed the current hot spell for an unseasonal rise in vacancies.

East Coast Apprenticeships has 50 jobs going at a time of year when it is normally busy placing school leavers.

Entry level apprenticeships were available in commercial cookery, carpentry, and painting on the Sunshine Coast as of the beginning of this week while there were openings in other trades in other locations.

Chief executive officer Alan Sparks said the hot weather might be one reason why jobs were going begging this summer.

"Maybe there's a few people out there, with the weather, who are uninclined to get off their lounges and do something," he said.

"That's not to say there aren't some young ones out there who are doing their best and reaping the rewards of their efforts."

Would the weather affect your choice of career?

This poll ended on 16 February 2017.

Yes. - 23%

No. - 57%

I definitely don't want to be working outside in this heat. - 18%

This is not a scientific poll. The results reflect only the opinions of those who chose to participate.

Mr Sparks said East Coast cancelled a commercial cookery course recently because there were not enough people enrolled, despite the fact that host employers were chasing quality candidates.

"I'm not sure about what's happening because we seem to be struggling. Whether it's the weather, I'm not sure if it's easier to sit at home in the air-conditioning," he said.

Mr Sparks said the drop-off in people seeking apprenticeships could also be due to other factors, such as the image of occupations and education and awareness.

He said many people mistakenly thought of hospitality as part-time work for university students when it in fact offered career opportunities.

Many tradespeople also went on to work in corporate positions and run their own businesses, he said.

He said the shortage of takers was hard to understand given hospitality opportunities were increasing in line with tourism and would only get better when the Commonwealth Games were held on the Gold Coast next year.

"The career opportunities for hospitality, at the moment, I don't think could be any better. Hospitality can open so many doors. If you want to go overseas, there's Australians everywhere working in hospitality.

"Our training is regarded as some of the best in the world. I'm struggling to understand why there aren't more people walking through the door," he said.

Mr Sparks said vacancies fluctuated all the time but there were positions going between Bundaberg and Brisbane in occupations including landscaping, plastering, stone masonry, spray painting, business administration, carpentry, painting and commercial cookery.

He said a group of nine want-to-be-carpenters would go to host employers on the Sunshine Coast next week as part of a four-week course which had a 90% success rate in transitioning graduates into apprenticeships. In comparison, 18 people had signed up for the same course in Brisbane.

"We could put more people through the program if more people fronted up for the opportunity," he said.

Topics:  apprenticeship editors picks employment jobs positions vacant sunshine coast traineeship traineeships training vacancies

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