Senator Evans … ‘incentives’
The Federal Government will recruit up to 21,000 plumbers, electricians, carpenters and other construction tradespeople under new reforms aimed at easing the current skills shortage.
As part of a major overhaul of the apprenticeship system, the Government will offer greater incentives to employers in sectors experiencing skills shortages. The initial focus is on the construction industry.
Minister for Skills, Senator Chris Evans, said the Government will double the incentive paid to employers for an additional 21,000 plumbers, electricians, carpenters and other construction tradespeople.
"This means thousands more young Australians will have the opportunity to learn a trade and access the high-paid, high-skilled jobs in our economy," Senator Evans said.
The Kickstart initiative will give small and medium employers, who employ an apprentice between December 2012 and February 2013, an additional $3,350 payment in two instalments.
The initiative will significantly boost the incentive payment to employers who take on new apprentices in trades experiencing a decline in start ups, with an initial focus on construction.
"This increases the support to an apprentice in the traditional trade from $9500 to $12,850," he said.
"The boost of traditional trades is also needed because conditions in the housing sector are set to improve into 2014 and 2015.
"This will see the demand for construction skills grow again and it is important that we start training Australians in those skills now. These reforms ensure we deliver the right skills, in the right areas, at the right time."
The reforms also provide greater incentives for employers to hire employees on a full time basis.
The Government will further reform the system to:
- Balance the incentives paid to part-time and casual trainees in non-shortage occupations as a proportion of the incentive paid for a full-time trainee.
- Maintain support for trainees doing diplomas in the skills needs areas of aged care, child care and nursing while supporting other Diploma students through access to HECS style loans and the industry-driven National Workforce Development Fund.
Simplify and better target support for employers of adult apprentices (aged 25 years and over) by replacing weekly payments of $150 to employers in the first year of an adult apprenticeship and $100 in the second year with a one-off bonus payment of $4,000. Where employees aged 25 years and over are paid under the National Minimum Wage, they will continue to receive $13,000 in additional direct support over two years.
"By targeting our training investment to the areas where we know there will be strong demand for workers, we will ensure the demands of industry are met and that Australians are first in line for jobs, while also making sure these incentives are sustainable for the long term," Senator Evans said.
The Australian Industry Group welcomed the announcement.
“This is the major recruitment period for employers and school leavers seeking trade careers, said AiGroup CEO Innes Willox.
However, Mr Willox warned the adjustments to the incentive payments for part-time or casual trainees, while logical, may yield unintended consequences.
The move could reduce employment options for young Australians, particularly females and in the regions.
“This will need to be monitored closely," Mr Willox said.