Budget subsidies a boost for Class of 2020

The Coast business community has welcomed new initiatives to support apprentices

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

“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 restarters, 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.

“With the subsidy available from October 5, we expect 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.”

The move has also been applauded by the Housing Industry Association (HIA),

“The announcement that the Australian Government will inject a further $1.2B into helping new and existing apprentices get a leg up in these difficult times responds to HIA’s call to ensure the class of 2020 are not left behind,” Managing Director, Graham Wolfe, said.

“The extension of the Supporting Apprentices and Trainees (SAT) wage subsidy to cover 50 per cent of an apprentice or trainee wage, up to $7,000 a quarter, for any business that takes on a new apprentice, provides a great incentive for students looking at building trades as a future pathway.

“As we reach the end of 2020 and students are considering their next step in 2021, an apprenticeship in residential building, which has remained open for business throughout COVID, should be seen as a real opportunity.

“The $2.8B already provided under this wage subsidy has made a real difference for the housing industry and has supported the majority of our existing apprentices 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.

“As JobKeeper and other incentives reach a conclusion businesses may have been challenged to keep on their existing trainees and apprentices; (this) announcement is as 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 economic recovery,” Wolfe said.

Terry Collins