Federal Labor has accused the Morrison government of creating a tradie shortage with the number of people completing training courses having almost halved in the past five years.
A review of government services has found the number of government-funded vocational education and training completions was 144,100 in 2018 compared with 254,800 in 2014 - a 43 per cent decline.
The opposition's education and training spokeswoman Tanya Plibersek says the figures are "alarming" but this is what happened when the Liberals ripped $3 billion from TAFE and training.
"Is it any wonder our nation has a shortage of bricklayers, plumbers, hairdressers, panelbeaters, and other critical tradies?" the former deputy Labor leader told AAP.
"Scott Morrison has created a tradie shortage in Australia and this latest data show's he is doing nothing to fix it."
She said businesses are crying out for more qualified workers, noting a Australian Industry Group survey found 75 per cent of businesses are struggling to find the qualified workers they need.
"That's bad for business and bad for the economy," Ms Plibersek said.
"By locking Australians out of education, the Liberals are locking Australians out of jobs."
Australian Associated Press