Earthmoving News, Jobs & Training

Apprentice retention program expands

New subsidies for second and third-year apprentices will be available from this month, with civil construction among the industries to benefit

Civil construction is among the industries set to benefit from an expanded federal government apprentices program.

The government has announced more than $700 million for a Completing Apprenticeship Commencements program, which is an extension of the Boosting Apprenticeship Commencements program that is already worth more than $3 billion.

The ‘completing’ aspect announced will be aimed at second and third year apprentices by providing wage subsidies to their eligible employers.

Effective from this month, it will provide a 10 per cent wage subsidy to employers of second-year apprentices and five per cent subsidies in their third year, to a maximum of $1,500 and $750 per quarter respectively.

Employment Minister Stuart Robert says the announcement forms part of a $6.4 billion government investment in skills this financial year, adding that the Boosting Apprenticeship Commencements program has already shown benefits.

‘While other countries shed their apprentice workforces, our highly successful Boosting Apprenticeship Commencement program saw new apprenticeships increase 141.5 per cent year on year,” he says.

“The Government is now protecting the pipeline of apprentices today so they become the skilled workforce of tomorrow through the Completing Apprenticeship Commencements program, giving employers the confidence to retain an apprentice in their second and third years of training right through to completion.”

The announcement has already been welcomed by Master Builders ACT, which has also called on the territory’s government to use its upcoming budget to further invest in apprentices.

“We are calling on the ACT Government to support the need for attracting and retaining enough apprentices to meet workforce demands now and into the future by investing in skills training,” Master Builders ACT CEO Michael Hopkins says.

“To address the under-funding of trade apprenticeships and skills shortages in the building and construction industry, we have recommended an increase in User Choice funding, as well as targeted wage support for any employer in the construction industry who hires an ACT resident unemployed from those industries most impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“In addition to these measures, we are suggesting a $2,000 contribution per apprentice employed in a Group Training Organisation towards mental health support, support in the field, workplace safety and provision of tools and equipment.”

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