NSW Business Chamber Mid North Coast regional manager Kellon Beard says employers value apprentices who have obtained a ‘great life foundation’ of practical skills.
While Australia is experiencing an apprenticeship shortage, in NSW there is no sign of a skills decline or in the Port Macquarie-Hastings region.
A TAFE NSW spokesperson said there is currently fantastic growth in enrolments, including for apprenticeships.
Mr Beard said as the region grows the demand for tradespeople who have specific skills will also increase.
He said a reason why nationally there may be a shortage of apprenticeships being taken up might be due to a view of them being ‘undervalued’.
Traditionally Mr Beard said high school students have been directed to universities to obtain a degree.
However he said in Port Macquarie students recognise there are attractive salaries for tradespeople and apprenticeships provide a ‘great foundation for life’.
Mr Beard said on the job training is also an important aspect of some university degrees.
He said universities including Charles Sturt University recognise students ‘can’t learn everything from a book’ and need work place experience.
Mr Beard speaks from his own experience as he attended TAFE to do an electrician apprenticeship.
Port Macquarie Chamber of Commerce president Hadyn Oriti said businesses seek people who are appropriately trained.
He said TAFE plays an important role in training and upskilling people.
Mr Oriti said the economy benefits from people who have the appropriate skills and education.
“It’s also great for employers personally who take on people who have those skills,” he said.