Release type: Media Release


Apprentice Kickstart kicks off today


Senator the Hon Mark Arbib
Minister for Employment Participation
Minister Assisting the Prime Minister for Government Service Delivery

Joint Media Release with The Hon Jason Clare MP, Parliamentary Secretary for Employment

The Rudd Government is urging employers to act quickly to capitalise on the extra funding on offer to take on a new apprentice under the $100 million Apprentice Kickstart program which starts today.

Minister for Employment Participation Mark Arbib said the Government was more than tripling the commencement bonus for employers who take on a traditional trades apprentice from today until February 28, 2010.

“There has never been a better time to take on an apprentice with the bonus for a new apprentice increasing from $1500 to $4850 in their first year,” Senator Arbib said.

“Employers will receive $2350 when they employ a 15 to 19 year old apprentice in an eligible trade and then receive a further $2500 after they complete nine months.

“We want to support up to 21,000 young Australians entering traditional trades this summer.”

Senator Arbib said the global recession had particularly hurt apprenticeships, with apprentice starts in the traditional trades dropping by about 10,000 in the past year.

“We know that in the 1990s, apprentice commencements took a decade to bounce back to pre-recession levels. We can’t afford that to happen again,” Senator Arbib said.

“This bonus will fast-forward hiring decisions to bring apprentice numbers up to levels before the global recession. We need to prepare now for when the Australian economy recovers.”

Parliamentary Secretary for Employment Jason Clare said the new program was a response to feedback from employers.

“We've been on the road for the past few months with Bill Kelty and Lindsay Fox talking to employers in areas that have been hit hardest by the global recession. And the one thing that employers told us everywhere we went was that they needed more help to put young apprentices on,” Mr Clare said.

“That's why the Government has acted and introduced Apprentice Kickstart. It's going to help to make sure that we've got more young apprentices and help to make sure that we've got the skills that we need for the future.”

The Apprentice Kickstart will be funded from the Government’s $650 million Jobs Fund and will be available to all employers who take on a traditional trade apprentice aged between 15 and 19 years.

The program has the support of Senator Bob Brown and The Greens and Senator Stephen Fielding.

The funding boost brings to around $250 million in the level of additional support the Rudd Government is providing to apprentices.

The bonus will be available to employers who hire an apprentice between 1 December 2009 and 28 February 2010 or until 21,000 apprentices have commenced in traditional trades hardest hit by skills shortages identified on the National Skills Needs List.

This includes trades like butchers, bakers, bricklayers, carpenters, electricians and pastry cooks.

Mr Clare said as part of the $100 million Kickstart, the Government was also providing $20 million for pre-apprenticeship proposals.