Apprentice and trainee wage subsidy welcomed

Business NSW Central Coast has praised a Federal Government subsidy for apprentices and traineeships which will see their wages subsidised for 12 months and act as an incentive for the region’s school leavers to enter a trade.

The $1.2B extension of the Supporting Apprentices and Trainees (SAT) wage subsidy will cover 50 percent of an apprentice or trainee wage, up to $7,000 a quarter, for any business that takes on a new apprentice.

“Business NSW has repeatedly called for governments to address skills shortages,” Regional Director, Paula Martin, said.

“By subsidising half of all new apprentice and traineeship wages until September 30, 2021, the Government has given businesses the confidence they need to recruit.

“The new subsidy will give businesses the certainty they need to invest in new staff during these extremely difficult economic times and help reduce the high unemployment levels brought about by COVID-19.

“Although support was being provided to help businesses retain existing apprentices, until now, there was little or no support for new starters and re-starters, essential to address our projected shortfall of up to 3,000 training places in the region.

“We also know that this year’s high school leavers are in the middle of a tough year, so this subsidy will give them some comfort that they will find a vocation that gives them valuable skills that serve them a lifetime.

“We are expecting to see more employers bringing forward their recruitment plans and starting to look for motivated young apprentices and trainees.

“My advice to any young person at high school who’s not sure what comes next, would be to finish your schooling and then seriously consider an apprenticeship or traineeship for the chance to start a fulfilling career,” Martin said.

The Housing Industry Association (HIA) has also applauded the Government’s ongoing support of apprentices and trainees with the latest $1.2B injection of funds.

Managing Director, Graham Wolfe, said the incentive for new apprentices and trainees would ensure that the class of 2020 is not left behind and provide a great incentive for students looking at building trades as a future pathway.

He said the latest funding built on $2.8B already provided by the Government earlier this year for existing apprentices, which had made a real difference for the housing industry and had supported the majority of existing apprentices to continue their study and training this year.

“Retaining apprentices in the building trades next year will underpin the need for a steady supply of skilled trades people over the next stage of the home building cycle,” Wolfe said.

“As JobKeeper and other incentives reach a conclusion, businesses might have been challenged to keep on their existing trainees and apprentices.

“This announcement is a sensible and targeted approach to supporting the class of 2020 and those businesses that continue to operate in these challenging times and support Australia’s economic recovery.”

Terry Collins

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