A shortage of apprentices and trainees in Ballarat undercuts the federal government's home building and renovation led economic recovery, according to Ballarat Federal MP Catherine King.
Apprentice and trainee numbers across all sectors have dropped 29 per cent, by 895, in Ballarat since 2013, according to Department of Education data.
National Australian Apprenticeship Association says around 5.5 per cent of apprentices and trainees have been suspended or cancelled since March 2020 due to COVID-19.
It's all very well to talk about construction projects and renovations, but you need tradies and apprentices to build them.Catherine King, Ballarat MP
The association says the commencement of new apprentices has dipped below the level experienced during the Global Financial Crisis and was set to decline rapidly in the months ahead without significant additional support.
Ms King said the government's HomeBuilder Scheme was 'too little too late'.
"If the Morrison Government was serious about supporting our tradies they would build more social housing, expand the First Home Loan Deposit Scheme for new builds and invest in skills and training," she said.
"It's all very well to talk about construction projects and renovations, but you need tradies and apprentices to build them."
Residents will be able to apply for $25,000 cash grants to renovate their properties or build new homes under the new HomeBuilder scheme that is intended to stimulate activity in the construction sector.
Renovations must cost more than $150,000 and new home builds cannot cost more than $750,000 to be eligible for the grant.
The scheme was introduced to boost work for builders, painters, plumbers and electricians.
Master Builders Australia says it will be a lifeline for the industry.
Tradeswoman Australia says boosting women in trades should be an issue on the agenda as part of economic recovery.
Women apprentices/trainees in the core trades of carpentry, automotive and electrical has remained less than two per cent for over twenty-five years.
Federation TAFE executive director Barry Wright said despite COVID-19, enrollments for construction apprenticeship qualifications were consistent with last year.
"Even though we are in challenging times... we haven't seen a significant downturn," he said.
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