A federal government trial offering Cairns and Far North Queensland businesses a wage subsidy to take on new apprentices is underway with new apprentices signing up at 42 local businesses.
The $60 million Australian Apprenticeships Wage Subsidy commenced on 1 January 2019 offering employers subsidies worth 75 per cent of the apprentice’s award wage in the first year, 50 per cent in the second year, and 25 per cent in the third year.
Cairns and Far North Queensland was chosen as a trial location in October, 2018.
Federal Leichhardt MP Warren Entsch said the trial would help Cairns and Far North Queensland businesses remain competitive while supporting more people into apprenticeships.
“Helping locals to start an apprenticeship, by supporting the businesses that employ them will have benefits for our entire community,” Mr Entsch said
“Through this incentive we are securing the skills our local businesses need to remain competitive and give local students new opportunities at home.”
“Starting out in an apprenticeship is the first step towards a rewarding career, and for businesses employing an apprentice, it’s an investment in growing the skills base for Far North Queensland.
“This trial will provide benefits that flow throughout our community; from our new apprentices who have a job and a career path, to local businesses who are helping to grow the number of skilled local workers.”
Federal Small and Family Business, Skills and Vocational Education Minister Michaelia Cash said having local businesses and apprentices involved in the trial was great for the community.
“There are 3.3 million Australian small businesses which contribute around $395 billion annually to our economy,” Ms Cash said.
“Small business plays a vital role in our community, from giving young Australians their first real job to supporting our local charities and sporting organisations.
“Through this wage subsidy we are securing the skills our regional and rural businesses need to remain competitive and give local students new opportunities at home.
“Disappointingly, Bill Shorten and Labor oppose this scheme and the benefits that it will bring to both local apprentices and small businesses in our community.
“These apprentice positions will be at risk under a Shorten Labor Government.
“Their opposition to more local apprentices show that Bill Shorten and Labor are seriously out of touch with rural and regional Australia.”
Further information about the Australian Apprenticeship Wage Subsidy trial is available at: www.australianapprenticeships.gov.au/publications/australian-apprentice-wage-subsidy