Prime Minister Scott Morrison has announced $1.2bn extension of a popular funding scheme that will bring thousands of new jobs to Australia.
The federal government will spend an extra $1.2bn on a scheme to help tradies hire thousands of new apprentices and trainees.
The Boosting Apprenticeship Commencements wage subsidy program will be extended for 12 months for new apprentices and trainees who are signed up before September 30.
The extra cash injection is expected to create about 70,000 apprenticeships and traineeships, on top of the 50,000 the scheme helped create since launching in September last year.
Carpenters, electricians, child carers and mechanics are some of the top jobs that have benefited from the scheme already.
The program will now be demand-driven and employers will be eligible to receive up to $7000 a quarter to hire or keep on an apprentice.
In a speech on Tuesday, Prime Minister Scott Morrison said the government has not “forgotten” people looking for work or reskilling.
“At the outset of the pandemic, we made keeping apprentices in their jobs one of our first priorities,” said.
“These apprentices would likely have been the first to go. Such a loss would have been devastating for our economy as years of training would have been lost and, I suspect, never recovered.
“We maintained the emerging skills pool that was building, that would be much needed for our economy in the future.”
He said a first-year wage subsidy eased the burden on business, by propping up young people in their least productive years.
“I don’t think businesses lightly take on young people. Those businesses want to take them on, because they know they need them. They know they need to build up those skills,” he said.
“Apprentices won’t add as much value as they ultimately will. So by sharing what is the heavier part of that load in the early parts of their training, I think we’re giving business a leg-up into the long-term future.”
The Prime Minister detailed how 40 per cent of the new apprentices and trainees have gone to small businesses, with the largest take up in the construction, food and beverage, administrative, and repair and maintenance sectors.
About one-fifth of new apprentices since the scheme began were 35 or older.
The scheme has been most popular in the construction sector in NSW, with 4603 businesses taking on 6477 new tradies.