Wednesday, March 28th, 2012 - National Electrical and Communications Association (NECA)

The National Electrical and Communication Association (NECA) says a government board has its wires crossed on plans to slash an apprenticeship training subsidy.

Reports of a worsening shortfall in trained tradespeople in Western Australia are further highlighted by a little known to the public government board which proposes to slash the subsidy support for the training of electrical apprentices in the State.

National Electrical and Communications Association (NECA) General Manager Ray Harris said his organisation was gobsmacked by the decision of the Building and Construction Industry Training (BCIT) Board to slash funding subsidies for electrical apprentice training.

"To make their actions even worse, the BCIT Board is proposing cutting subsidies for training electrical apprentices only with no reductions applying to other trades," Mr Harris said.

"We expect if the BCIT Board goes ahead with these funding cuts it will affect our industry as a whole with the long term result being a further contribution to skills shortages in Western Australia.

"The community will not be happy paying more for electricians on top of the discontent about the increasing charges for electricity.

"Some of the big losers from these proposed cuts will be hundreds of small businesses that depend on supported training for their future workforce."

NECA member Jim Moles of Custom Electrics who currently employs over 50 apprentices said it was hard to understand why this government board would single out the electrical industry.

"The employer subsidy is an important contribution to my business and my ability to employ and train electrical apprentices," Jim said.

"This decision seems to be out of line with the government’s goal of increasing the take up of apprentices."

Ray Harris said NECA was currently responsible for training and placement training of more than 60 per cent of electrical apprentices in Western Australia through its Colleges of Electrical Training and Electrical Group Training scheme.

"It seems the electrical industry is being penalised for its own success in delivering outstanding apprentice training outcomes and achieving an apprenticeship completion rate of 75 per cent," Mr Harris said.

"As the peak industry body and trainer of electrical apprentices in WA, we call on the BCIT Board and its responsible Minister Peter Collier to reverse this decision which discriminates against the electrical trade while other less efficient trade training continues without funding cuts."

Electrical apprentice training fact file:

• The BCIT Board plans to cut the apprentice subsidies from $9,000-$6000 effective 1 July 2012.

• The subsidy for mature age apprentices will be halved from $12,000 to $6,000

• NECA’s Electrical Group Training employs more than 800 apprentices placing to host employers.

• NECA’s College of Electrical Training with campuses at Balcatta, Jandakot and Joondalup (in 2013) provides vocational training to more than 2,000 apprentices and post-trade training to licensed electricians and contractors.

Apprentice funding subsidy cuts to have far reaching effects

• The State Government's Building and Construction Industry Training (BCIT) Board has notified NECA it will be cutting the subsidies to help train electrical apprentices from 1 July 2012.

• Funding cuts will bring about a reduction in apprenticeship commencements in 2012-2013 and beyond, ultimately leading to a bigger shortfall in the number of skilled electricians in WA.

• More than 90 per cent of electrical firms are small businesses and will not be able to afford to employ as many apprentices following the cuts to training subsidies.

• The community will pay more for electricians if these cuts remain in place.

• These funding cuts will further contribute to WA skills shortages.

• The BCIT Board has applied the cuts inequitably - applying them to electrical apprentice training only – no other trades' funding has been cut.

• NECA – through its Electrical Group Training (EGT) and College of Electrical Training (CET) arms, manages the training for 60 per cent of electrical apprentices in WA.

• NECA's training delivers apprentice training completion rates of 75 per cent.

Contact Profile

National Electrical and Communications Association (NECA)

• NECA, the National Electrical and Communications Association is Western Australia’s peak industry association representing electrical and communications contractors.

• NECA has 750 members.

• NECA's WA members perform 95 per cent of all work contracted to the electrical and communications industry in the State every year employing around 30,000 Western Australians.

• NECA's Electrical Group training arm currently employs more than 800 apprentices, making it the largest employer of electrical apprentices in Australia. • Those apprentices are hosted by more than 400 electrical and communications contractors who work on a wide range of projects, from domestic through to major commercial and industrial installations.

• In 2012 NECA’s CET introduced "school-based" pre-apprenticeships allowing young people in Years 11 and 12 to begin training in a trade while at secondary school. • NECA promotes apprenticeship excellence though Apprentice of the Year Awards across four categories – safety, commercial/domestic, communications and industrial.


John Cooke
phone: +61 (8) 9388 0944
mobile: +61 433 679 780
email: [email protected]

Ray Harris, General Manager Membership
phone: +61 (8) 6241-6154

Ian Williams
phone: +61 (8) 9388 0944
mobile: +61 404 052 590
email: [email protected]

John Cooke
P: +61 (8) 9388 0944
M: +61 433 679 780


The National Electrical and Communication Association (NECA) says a government board has its wires crossed on plans to slash an apprenticeship training subsidy.



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