The Nationals Member for Gippsland Darren Chester has welcomed a $60 million program to encourage businesses in regional and rural communities to take on more apprentices.
Mr Chester said the wage subsidy trial would enable eligible employers in Gippsland to receive payments based on the apprentice’s relevant award wage rates.
“Subsidies will be provided at 75 per cent of the apprentice’s award wage in the first year, followed with 50 per cent in the second year and 25 per cent in the third year,” Mr Chester said.
“The investment is part of the government’s commitment to maintaining a strong vocational education and training sector that delivers the quality skilled workforce our community needs.
“To encourage our young people to stay in Gippsland, we need to provide training pathways to career and job opportunities.
“For many small businesses, this wage support may well be the deciding factor as to whether or not they can take on an apprentice. And for a young person, that could be the difference between a career or unemployment.”
Minister for Small and Family Business, Skills and Vocational Education Senator Michaelia Cash said the trial would see up to 1,630 new Australian apprentices in areas of skills needs.
“There are 3.3 million Australian small businesses which contribute around $395 billion annually to our economy. Small business plays a vital role in our community, from giving young Australians their first real job to supporting our local charities and sporting organisations,” Minister Cash said.
“Through this incentive we are securing the skills our regional and rural businesses need to remain competitive and give local students new opportunities at home.”
From 1 January 2019, the new subsidy under the Australian Apprenticeships Incentives Program (AAIP), will support eligible new Australian apprentices in areas such as plumbing, mechanical, electrical, painting trades and hairdressing.
Deputy Prime Minister, Nationals’ Leader and Minister for Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development Michael McCormack said the incentive would provide a much-needed boost to communities in regional and rural Australia.
“It’s an incentive that I’m confident will encourage businesses and employers to engage a new apprentice and turbo-charge someone’s future career,” Mr McCormack said.
“This investment from the Liberal and Nationals Government is just another practical step to help create jobs and opportunities for small businesses and young people in the regions.
“A VET qualification is every bit as important to the economy as a university degree.
“That’s why our investment in the Skilling Australians Fund – alongside New South Wales, South Australia, Western Australia, Tasmania, Northern Territory and the ACT – is vital to create thousands of additional pre-apprenticeships, apprenticeships and higher apprenticeships.”
The new wage subsidy will complement other incentives currently available through the AAIP and support the engagement of eligible new full-time apprentices at the Certificate III and IV levels in occupations on the National Skills Needs List in regional and rural communities.