Business leaders are calling for a boost in support for tradies and apprentice across NSW to help address a severe skills shortage.
The Apprenticeship Support Australia (ASA) network is marking its 25 years by highlighting the dire lack of junior tradies in the state.
Farming, hospitality, construction, the service industry and the child and aged care sectors are most in need.
Skills Minister Tim Crakanthorp says the NSW government is committing more resources to attract apprentices to industries crying out for workers.
He was joined at the Sydney Mint by Business NSW CEO Daniel Hunter and ASA head Peter Gilchrist on Monday.
Mr Gilchrist says the skills shortage impacting Australia can be addressed by boosting vocational education and training.
"Apprentices are the lifeblood of the economy, with training holding the key to filling the country's skills shortages," he said.
While the sector had changed significantly, the importance of mentoring could not be understated, he said.
"I was fortunate to have a fantastic mentor and hope the next generation can be just as lucky."
Mr Hunter said Australia was built off the back of tradies, but employers were struggling to fill vacancies for childcare workers, electricians, carpenters, chefs and hairdressers.
"Employers want more mentoring to ensure that apprentices complete their training,'' he said.
"This is especially true for new and emerging businesses who may be taking on an apprentice or trainee for the first time."
A recent Business NSW survey of more than 12,000 employers found 70 per cent wanted more incentives from government to hire apprentices and trainees.
Some of the issues raised included poor business conditions and a shortage of training providers.
The ASA said the apprentice path wasn't restricted to young people.
More than 20 per cent of employers surveyed said they also want more help to create more opportunities for mature workers.
Australian Associated Press