The federal government has announced a 12-month extension to the Boosting Apprenticeship Commencements program, promising a 50 per cent wage subsidy for businesses who employ or recommence apprentices by September 30 2021.
The program extension aims at strengthening apprenticeship employment, adding to the 8,836 apprentices and trainees employed by the mining industry.
Mining apprenticeship numbers were resilient in 2020, with all other industries down 11 per cent compared to mining’s 1.41 per cent fall.
Minerals Council of Australia chief executive officer Tania Constable backed the program extension and its support for the resources sector.
“The success of Australia’s resources sector and its ability to keep backing Australia’s regional communities depends on a highly skilled workforce which includes traditional and emerging trades,” Constable said.
In a statement from Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison, its expected the extension will cost around $1.2 billion and create around 70,000 new apprentices and traineeships.
Morrison said the success of the program was the backbone of the federal government’s plan for an economic recovery.
“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.
“Last week’s National Accounts showed the comeback of the Australian economy is underway, however many businesses still need support and it’s important our apprentices and trainees get opportunities to boost their skills and stay employed.”
The Boosting Apprenticeship Commencements program also expects to encourage almost 40,000 businesses across all industries to take part and grow the next generation of skilled worker.
Australia’s Minister for Employment, Skills, Small and Family Business Michaelia Cash said the program will boost industries all across Australia.
“Growing our skills pipeline is an incredibly important part of helping our economic recovery,” she said.
“I’m so pleased that we’ve helped create 100,000 new registered apprentice and trainee places so far and we intend to help even more people get the chance to upskill or reskill.
“By expanding this wage subsidy for another 12 months, we’ll be helping businesses to create even more jobs, further supporting our National Economic Recovery Plan for Australia.”