Apprentices fight skills shortage with $716m program

Apprentices and trainees will receive further support through their second and third years of study with the establishment of the Completing Apprenticeship Commencements program.

The Federal Government’s $716 million boost came as the deadline approaches for the Boosting Apprenticeship Commencements (BAC) program.

While the BAC provided a 50 per cent wage subsidy for businesses which employed or recommenced apprentices by September 30, the Completing Apprenticeship Commencements program will provide a 10 per cent wage subsidy for second year students and five per cent for third years.

Minister for Employment, Workforce, Skills, Small and Family Business Stuart Robert said the new program would help to maintain the growing pipeline of 348,200 Australians training at June 2021.

“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,” Robert said.

“The Morrison Government is now protecting the pipeline of apprentices today… giving employers the confidence to retain an apprentice in their second and third years of training right through to completion.”

The program’s expansion was backed by Minerals Council of Australia chief executive officer Tania Constable, who said this would ensure the long-term benefit of initial investments like the BAC.

“The decision to extend wage support in the second and third year of an apprenticeship recognises the investment by businesses in apprentices and the long term economic benefits of lifting workforce skills,” Constable said.

“The mining industry has already committed to creating 5000 new apprenticeships over the next few years and the announcement today will help the sector achieve that commitment sooner.”

In March, as the BAC was extended to September 30, Prime Minister Scott Morrison said the boosting of apprenticeships and trainees was key to the country’s COVID-19 response.

“Creating jobs, generating economic opportunities and boosting the skills of workers right across Australia are at the heart of our National Economic Recovery Plan, as we build back from the COVID-19 recession,” he said.

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