Powering up: apprentice numbers good, but could be stronger

ESQ apprentices
ESQ apprentices

After declining for two straight years, the number of apprentice electricians in Queensland has increased during 2015. Figures provided to Energy Skills Queensland (ESQ) revealed in the first six months of 2015, a total of 7168 apprentice electricians were registered with the state’s Electrical Safety Office, an increase from the two-year low point recorded at the end of 2014 (7099).

The increase comes after a troubling period of decline which set in from 2012.

“This increase is a positive sign for the sector,” ESQ workforce planning manager Anthea Middleton said.

“However, the number of apprentice electricians currently in training is still lower than both 2013 and 2012, suggesting there is still a lot of room to grow the supply of apprentice numbers throughout this year and into the future.

“Moreover, even while the number of apprentice electricians has increased, the data indicate apprentice electrical trades workers, like lines workers and cable jointers, has actually continued to decrease, which further suggests room to grow the next generation of electrical workers to power the state economy.”

Figures for electrical contractors and qualified electrical workers continued to show positive signs of growth for 2015. The qualified electrical workforce in Queensland now includes 44,501 people, which has grown each year from 2010. Electrical contractors have also continued to grow throughout the past five years, according to ESQ’s research, rising further in 2015 to 9686.