NORTH Coast building and construction businesses are boosting their bottom line by signing up new apprentices under Federal Labor's Kickstart initiative for construction trades.
Australian Business Apprenticeships Centre (ABAC) general manager Andrew Williams said the Kickstart scheme adds $3350 to the incentives paid in the first year to employers who take on a new apprentice before the end of February for training in an occupation on the National Skills Needs List.
"Eligible employers can receive as much as $7350 in total Government payments under the scheme," Williams said.
"That's a welcome boost to small and medium businesses around the coast."
Coffs Harbour plumber, Ben Johnston, says he was thrilled when local ABAC industry consultant Luke Goudge advised his business, Pureflow Plumbing, was eligible for Kickstart payments.
"Times are a little bit uncertain in the small business arena at present," he said.
"The extra Kickstart funding provides me with added security when signing up an apprentice.
"Local lad Mitchel Healy had already done some work experience for us and had performed very well.
"Finding out about the Kickstart bonuses sealed the deal to sign him up as an apprentice.
"Training up an apprentice is an excellent way of introducing new talent to the plumbing industry as well as alleviating the shortage of skilled, qualified tradesmen in the Coffs area.
"Luke took care to ensure I had all the correct paperwork and organised the processing so that both myself and the apprentice received our maximum entitlements from the word go.
"This allowed me to spend more time with Mitchell from the beginning; helping build a solid working relationship."
Apprentice Kickstart payments are paid directly to the employer's bank account, with the first $850 payable at the six-month point of the Australian Apprenticeship and a final $2,500 bonus paid at the 12 month point of the apprenticeship.
These payments are in addition to the regular $1,500 commencement payment and $2,500 completion payments offered to eligible employers of apprentices including school-based apprentices.
Eligible apprentices need to be employed in a building or construction occupation on the National Skills Needs List.
There are 24 trades included.
For more information about Kickstart contact Australian Business Apprenticeships Centre on: 1300 652 236 or at www.apprenticeshipscentre.com.au