Apprentices to get a kick start to career with bonus scheme

A LOCAL training company has welcomed the Federal Government's reintroduction of the Apprentice Kickstart Bonus initiative which will take effect on Saturday.

North Coast Group Training (NCGT) regional co-ordinator, Jane Wayland, said incentives paid to employers hiring apprentice plumbers, electricians, carpenters and other construction tradespeople will increase significantly.

Small and medium employers, who employ an apprentice between December 2012 and February 2013, will receive an additional $3350 payment in two installments.

This takes the total support for a traditional trade apprentice to $7350.

Ms Wayland said the move to target incentives to critical areas of the economy that are experiencing skills shortages is a sensible one.

The initial focus is on construction and the incentives will be capped to 21,000 new recruits. She said that whilst construction activity was flat at the moment forecasts are for it to pick up in 2014-15.

"Smart companies should be looking to invest now in apprentices to be ready for an uptake in work," Ms Wayland said.

"Sourcing an apprentice employed by a group training company such as NCGT removed the hassle of employing, paying and administering a new recruit, freeing them up to focus on providing that young person with meaningful and productive work experience for their company.

"These incentives make apprenticeships through group training companies even more affordable."

Under the reforms announced last month the Government will also pro-rata incentives paid to part-time and casual trainees in non-shortage occupations.

Trainees doing diplomas in the skills needs areas of aged care, child care and nursing will continue to be supported but other Diploma students will be assisted through access to HECS style loans and the industry-driven National Workforce Development Fund.

Employers of older apprentices (aged 25 years and over) will now be paid a one-off bonus payment of $4,000 rather than weekly payments of $150 in the first year and $100 in the second year.

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.

Ms Wayland added the apprenticeship incentive provided some good news after the NSW Government recently decided to scrap the Joint Group Training Scheme (JGTP).

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