Census shows the value of apprenticeships to youth

November 28, 2018 BY

TAKING on an apprenticeship leads to the highest level of wellbeing among young Australians out of all post-school pathways, according to the results of the nation’s largest youth survey.

The Skillsroad 2018 Youth Census gained more than 30,000 responses nationally from youth aged 15-24, and found that those undertaking an apprenticeship, traineeship, or working in some capacity were happier overall and experienced higher levels of ‘meaning,’ ‘resilience’ and ‘optimism’ than all other pathways after school.

Survey participants who were working while in secondary school and contributing financially to their housing situation (even if living at home with parents) also reported higher levels of wellbeing than those that were not.

The first Skillsroad Youth Census was commissioned by Apprenticeship Support Australia (ASA) in 2017 in response to the nation’s high youth unemployment rates, which have been hovering at about 12 per cent since 2014.

Supported by the business chamber movement, this year’s census was designed to further illuminate the specific hopes, fears and general attitudes of Australian youth during their transition from school to the workforce.

ASA national general manager James Moran said the Youth Census highlighted the value of apprenticeships, and vocational work more broadly, as a meaningful after school career option for Australian youth.

Among those who had left school, apprentices cited a wellbeing score that was well above the national average, followed closely by those in traineeships, taking a full-time job, and going on a “working” gap year.

Meanwhile, getting a part-time job, going to university or not working at all scored either on or below the national wellbeing average.

The Census results also reveal a disparity between the reality of the job market and young people’s perception of available career opportunities.

Despite a national skills shortage across the Australian trades sector, the concern that “there aren’t enough jobs” was cited by youth as one of their top three biggest worries about living in Australia.

This concern is likely exacerbated by the reported lack of career guidance for some young people during their secondary studies, with only half of all census participants reporting that they received “quality” career advice throughout their schooling.

Mr Moran said the results should serve as a strong message to schools, parents and employers that young people need to be better informed about all post-school pathways.

Download the full report at skillsroad.com.au/youth-census-2018.