Economic downturn hurts apprentices

Rob Kent, Mackay apprentice.
Rob Kent, Mackay apprentice. Peter Holt

APPRENTICES seem to be the latest victims of the economic downturn with many being let go before completing their training.

When the stage two works at the new Mackay Base Hospital finished, Robert Kent found himself out of a job.

Mr Kent, who is in the second year of his electro technology certificate III apprenticeship, said he wasn't the only apprentice to get the chop.

"I'm 30 years old, I have a partner and seven-month-old baby - I was worried about being able to support them especially with rental prices up here," he said.

Mr Kent, who is employed by the MRAEL Group, said it was two-and-a-half weeks before a new place was found for him. In the meantime Mr Kent didn't waste any time sending out more than 500 resumes to businesses seeking a new apprenticeship.

"Of that 500 I got maybe six call-backs and only one wanted to see me," he said. "There are definitely not a lot of jobs out there."

Mr Kent said the job losses were widespread.

"In the mine camps, I have friends there losing a lot of mates." MRAEL general manager Christine Dixon said apprentice job losses were rampant across the trade industry with MRAEL being contacted by more and more out-of-work apprentices. "Our level of inquiries has increased in the last few months." Ms Dixon said employers like MRAEL had a responsibility to apprentices.

"That's what a training contract is all about. But at the end of the day while it's a contract if you've (companies) got no work, you've got no work - we (MRAEL) then put them with someone who does have work."

As for Mr Kent - he will find himself in a similar situation come January when his latest job stint comes to an end.

He said he's been busy making inquiries for new work.

Have you heard of apprentices losing their jobs?

This poll ended on 15 December 2012.

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Topics:  apprenticeships employment job cuts

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