News & Views

18th April 2017

Better outlook for apprentices in 2017

11 Jan 2017

The National Electrical and Communications Association (NECA) remains hopeful of a brighter year for apprentices in 2017, following declines in the take-up and completion of apprenticeships in the June Quarter of 2016, said CEO, Suresh Manickam.

“The release of the quarterly National Centre for Vocational Education Research (NCVER) statistics continues to highlight apprenticeship declines on a year-on-year basis for trades related commencements, in particular for those aged 25 and over. For the June quarter, the number of apprentices and trainees in-training as at 30 June 2016 was 282 900, a decrease of 7.8 per cent from June 2015, and a decrease of 1.3 per cent from the March 2016 quarter.

“However, we remain hopeful that reforms put in place to strengthen the performance and reputation of the VET sector will bring some cheer for apprentices in 2017,” Mr Manickam said.

“The Government’s new VET Loans program has recently passed the Senate and will commence on January 1st. These reforms aim to better target the right students for courses that provide the greatest opportunity to realise employment outcomes by limiting eligibility to courses such as Electrotechnology where there’s a greater likelihood of apprentices finding employment, deliver higher standards of compliance and enrolment access for training providers and the banning of brokers, cold calling and incentive based sales tactics to attract students.  Students, will now have to regularly engage with the VET Student Loans portal, to ensure their enrolment remains active and legitimate.”

“NECA has been a strong advocate for the reform of the VET sector and the removal of platforms that enabled poorly performing providers to enter the system to deliver below quality education through the lure of free laptops funded by Australian taxpayers. We believe the new arrangements will deliver certainty for the sector and will ultimately deliver improved outcomes that will lead to an increase in the take-up and completion of apprenticeships across the nation,” said Mr Manickam.

NCVER numbers for the June Quarter 2016 can be found here.



Media enquiries and interviews

Barry Jackson – National Marketing and Communications


D 02 9962 6904

M 0457 767 328

Andrew Jefferies – National Policy and Submissions

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M 0458 726 355

Notes for editors

  1. NECA is the peak industry body representing the interests of electrical and communications contractors Australia-wide.
  2. NECA is run by electrical contractors, for electrical contractors.
  3. We have 5,000 contracting companies as members – and they in turn employ over 50,000 people Australia-wide.
  4. NECA employs almost 350 people across its seven chapters (Queensland, New South Wales, ACT, Victoria, Tasmania, South Australia and Western Australia).
  5. The chapters provide NECA members with a range of services including: Industrial Relations, Health & Safety, Legal, Technical, Training, business-support services, product discounts and advocacy representation in Canberra with Government, Industry bodies and Training bodies.
  6. NECA wholly-owns its Legal firm, Group Training and the NECA Colleges (in WA) and EcoSmart Electricians – and has joint ventures with a superannuation company (NSW) and one of the national cabling registrars (ACRS).
  7. NECA also employ around 2,000 apprentice electricians and provides training to a further 2,000.
  8. For further information go to


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