It's just too hot for budding tradies


Sir – Northern Australia’s summer months have proven too hot for many “outdoor tradies,” say Charles Darwin University researchers after analysing more than 20 years of apprenticeship data.
University Fellow Don Zoellner said that while it may seem obvious to link extreme heat with apprentice tradie attrition rates, multiple reviews into the shortfalls of the training system had never made the connection.
But Dr Zoellner, a VET policy expert based with CDU’s Northern Institute in Alice Springs, said a fresh look at national data suggested that northern Australia’s climatic conditions were clearly a factor in apprentice non-completion rates, which had remained persistently low for decades.
He says about 58% of the 105,000 trade apprenticeships that have commenced above the Tropic of Capricorn since 1994 have not progressed to completion.
A disproportionate number of these occur in the fourth quarter of the year when northern Australia experiences its hotter, more humid weather. The pattern is not as evident for southern Australia and does not apply to traineeships that are carried out mostly indoors.
Dr Zoellner says the findings were significant in the context of the economic development of northern Australia, which relies heavily upon trade occupations that frequently work outdoors.
It is also cause for concern if the warming in northern Australia continues as anticipated.
Patrick Nelson
Regional Public Relations Officer, CDU


  1. I used to work outside through the summer here for many years and now have an indoors job where people seriously complain if the temperature goes over 25 degrees. I never complain.

  2. Whether you are young, middle aged, an older worker or just playing out in the sun / heat anywhere for any length of time will have an adverse impact on your health, especially in the outback / northern Australia and particularly in regards to skin cancer.
    This is an extremely important local health issue, what do the medical experts in this subject have to say? I personally had a melanoma removed in my 30s, fortunately I am still here in my 60s.

  3. I was a sparky for the first 25 years of my working life and have worked through the varying extremes of weather, from cold to freezing conditions with “Lazy” winds through to the very hot of 50 degrees plus.
    Didn’t faze me one bit as I was acclimatised to the conditions of the day.
    Then I got a job in an air-conditioned office.
    One day I walked out the door for a lunch break and the heat nearly knocked me arse over head. It was only 25 degrees! lol


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