National employer association Ai Group has welcomed the Australian Government's recent announcement that it was extending the Boosting Apprenticeship Commencements program.
The association’s chief executive, Innes Willox, said that the extension would provide further support to the youth labour market, which has been most adversely impacted by Covid-19.
"At the start of the pandemic we saw thousands of apprentices laid off and a nose-dive in apprentice commencements. This led to predictions of a 50% increase in school leavers not in employment, education or training,” he said.
"Ai Group called at the time for urgent government support for apprentices and trainees. The Boosting Apprenticeship Commencements program which followed was an overwhelming success, benefitting more than 100,000 apprentices and trainees.
"The new funding announced today will consolidate the gains and enable more employers to take on their usual annual intake of apprentices and trainees, and in many instances increase apprenticeship numbers.
"Even more young people will now have the opportunity to gain meaningful employment in what will often be their first job.
"The program will support the creation of a strong pipeline of skills to help lift the economy out of the Covid downturn," said Mr Willox.