Tasmanian Vocational Skills on the Rise Sun 16 September 2012 Nick McKim Minister for Education and Skills Tasmania's vocational education system is showing encouraging progress. The number of Tasmanian trainees and apprentices is now growing above the national rate, according to the latest national statistics. The Minister for Education and Skills, Nick McKim, welcomed the positive results. "In a modern, sustainable, hi-tech economy, we know quality skills are the crucial commodity," Mr McKim said. "We need to equip Tasmanians for the new jobs of today and tomorrow - and a strong, modern vocational education system plays a crucial role. "In a time of relative skills shortage, it's very encouraging to see apprenticeships and traineeships increasing well in Tasmania. "I congratulate the workers grasping these opportunities. We'll continue working hard and innovating to build on this momentum," he said. The figures from the National Centre for Vocational Education Research's report Australian Vocational Education and Training Statistics: Apprentices and Trainees March Quarter 2012 shows: • The number of trainee and apprenticeships commence increased by 2.8% (from 8024 to 8252) in the year to March 2012 - above the national commencement rate of 2.5%. • There were significant increases in some occupational groups - including managers and professionals (up 27.1 %) community and personal service workers (up 11.1%) and clerical and administrative workers (up 37.7%). • Commencements increased significantly for higher level qualifications - particularly Certificate IV, but also Diplomas (32 % boost from 2,010 to 2,654) in the year to March 2012, compared to the previous year. • There was a large rise in commencements for apprentices and trainees aged 25 and over (and particularly aged 45 and over) which is positive news for Tasmania. The Tasmanian VET sector supports thousands of Tasmanians each year enter the workforce, improve their careers, or re-train for new careers. "A strong vocational training sector boosts our economic productivity and competitiveness, and delivers vital opportunities for Tasmanian communities and employers," Mr McKim said. "We're further improving our VET system next year by introducing TasTAFE - subject to the Legislative Council passing legislation," he said.