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‘Economy-crippling’ skills shortage foreshadowed by reduced apprentice intake

More than 50,000 apprentice positions are at risk in NSW, leading to fears of a future skills shortage.

Business NSW CEO Stephen Cartwright told Jim Wilson a comprehensive state-wide review of the attitudes of apprentices and employers has painted “a pretty bleak picture”.

“Many [apprentices] are on stand down, many of them are only really being kept on because of government subsidies.

“Come the 1st of October …  how many more of the existing apprentices are going to be laid off?”

Mr Cartwright said first and second years are at particularly high risk, and next year’s intake will be reduced so drastically it’ll be “back to 1998 levels”.

“What that means, of course, is that in a few years from now … we’ll have this massive hole where there’s no tradies qualifying, there’s no skilled people coming out.

“We could have a potentially economy-crippling problem on our hands.”

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Image: Getty