News & Views

8th July 2016

Declining student numbers in VET shows need to facilitate private training: NECA

08 Jul 2016

The continuing national decline in the number of government-funded students enrolled in vocational education and training (VET) is a concern that must be addressed, says the CEO of the National Electrical and Communications Association (NECA), Mr Suresh Manickam.

“The recent release of National Centre for Vocational Education and Training (NCVER) figures highlighting the total number of government-funded students engaged in VET reaching a peak in 2012 but declining ever since, (17% between 2012 and 2016), demonstrates the need for governments around Australia to facilitate industry to assist TAFE for the provision of training.” 

 “In New South Wales, the long-term lease of TransGrid, in addition to the partial long-term lease of both Ausgrid and Endeavour expected in 2016-17, is anticipated to contribute more than $20 billion to the NSW Budget and economy”

“In this context, NECA believes that the NSW government should re-invest some of these proceeds back into the electricity supply industry in the form of providing opportunities for apprenticeships.”

“NECA is willing and able to train these workers and presently employs and trains many apprentices within this field. However, our ability to provide additional quality training is constrained by limited access to appropriate training and network facilities.”

“We therefore call on the NSW Government to support new facilities for the training and re-training of workers in the electricity supply industry,” Mr Manickam said.  

“The alternative is worsening skills shortages in NSW, which could imperil the NSW government’s infrastructure program, with a record $73.3 billion for critical infrastructure provided over the next four years in the 2016-17 Budget.”

“In order to get value for money for this investment, the NSW Government must address these future training needs now.”

The number of government-funded students enrolled in electrotechnology parent training packages (UEE, UTE, UTL) declined from 13,700 to 11,600 or 15.3% between 2014 and 2015*.


*Source – 




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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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