Apprenticeships affirmed as critical to skilling future workforce
The economic crisis brought about by Covid-19 was something the Australian Government had never seen before. In an effort to offer emergency support for the economy and maintain employment, it was seeking ways to support jobs while setting Australia up for the future.
Apprenticeships and traineeships were destined to play a key role in that effort.
Launching generous funding initiatives including Boosting Apprenticeship Commencements and Completing Apprenticeship Commencements, billions were funnelled into wage subsidies to support new hiring and get more Australians into apprenticeships across the economy.
Delivering the 2022 Budget, Prime Minister Scott Morrison summed up by saying apprentices, trainees and workers building their skills were key to delivering a stronger future economy.
“By backing apprentices and trainees we’re getting more people ready for the jobs that will set them up for life,” Prime Minister Morrison said. “These investments will mean more skilled workers, lower unemployment, and a stronger future not just for apprentices and trainees, but for Australia.”
Federal Budget 2022 supports future apprenticeships
The Federal Budget 2022 continues the commitment. While rolling back the more generous incentives inked during the pandemic, the government is maintaining recent momentum to support future apprenticeship activity, targeting areas of skills need into the future.
- Firstly, the Government has committed a foreshadowed $365.3 million to extending the Boosting Apprenticeship Commencements (BAC) and Completing Apprenticeship Commencement s(CAC). This gives employers until 30 June 2022 to add to their ranks of new apprentices before wage incentives change, while CAC will last until 30 June 2027.
- The Government will replace these short-term schemes with the Australian Apprenticeships Incentive System from 1 July 2022, which will focus on supporting commencement and completions in Australian Apprenticeship Priority List occupations. Worth $2.4 billion, it includes employer wage subsidies and hiring incentives and direct payments to apprentices.
- Ensuring regional and remote areas share in the spoils of economic growth is always a consideration for governments, and that extends to apprenticeships. The Government has committed $144.1 million to support eligible employers and apprentices located in regional and remote areas, in order to boost completion numbers and grow regional economies.
- The government will boost by 2500 the number of In-Training Support places available to apprentices aged 15-20. Designed to help apprentices in this age bracket follow through to complete their apprenticeships, it will see the existing 30,000 places already available through AASN providers bumped up with a small additional investment of $2.8 million.
- A further initiative to increase diversity in apprenticeship intakes and trades more generally in the future is a $38.6 million investment earmarked to encourage women to step into apprenticeships. It will focus on boosting participation of women in non-traditional trade occupations and include priority occupations like bricklayers, carpenters and electricians.
Shoring up the future skills of Australia’s workforce
Minister for Employment, Workforce, Skills, Small and Family Business Stuart Robert said the government was focussed on ensuring a pipeline of skilled workers for Australia and that the pandemic resulted in 'generation skilling', rather than 'generational scarring'. He emphasised that the heavy focus in this effort has and will be the nation’s apprentices and trainees.
“Our efforts to protect the next generation of Australian workers from the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic have paid off, with low unemployment and a record number of trade apprentices,” Minister Robert said. “We will provide a record $7.8 billion this financial year to deliver generational skilling across the nation, with a heavy focus on supporting apprentices and trainees.”
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