Financial Support at an all time high

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Recent budget announcements have increased financial support to businesses employing Australian Apprentices to record levels.

The Commonwealth Government initiatives offering financial assistance to tackle skills shortages will directly benefit local businesses which employ trainees and apprentices.

Employing a mature apprentice could bring your business an extra $13,000 over two years. From 1 July 2007, financial support has become available for mid-career workers aged 30 or over for an apprenticeship in a trade occupation in high demand. Many trades in the Northern Rivers region qualify for this initiative, known as Support for Mid Career Apprentices (SMCA). The amount payable is set at $150 per week ($7,800 per annum) in the first year and $100 per week ($5,200 per annum) in the second year, payable to either the employer or the apprentice. On top of that, employers will receive incentives of $1,500 for each worker who commences and $2,500 when they complete their training. Employers operating in Rural and Regional Skills Shortages areas may claim a further $1000 on commencement of their apprentice.

So the true costs of taking on an apprentice are less than many businesses might think and the gains are huge. An apprentice or trainee brings with them new skills to your organisation, learning on state of the art equipment and new technology can only help a business to keep up with change.

If a business doesn’t have the work load for a full time apprentice now but sees the benefit of taking one on, School Based Apprenticeships may be the answer. Students commence the apprenticeship part time, whilst undertaking year 11 and 12 and gaining a Higher School Certificate. On completion of HSC, the student commences full time employment to complete the term of the apprenticeship.

Melissa Hughes of CONNECT comments: “School Based Apprenticeships are the way of the future. Currently in the Northern Rivers many students going onto year 11 next year want to undertake a School Based Apprenticeship and we are looking for employers who need apprentices”.

If you are thinking about taking on staff, think about investing in the long-term growth and sustainability of your business. The apprentice you hire today may be your manager of the future.

With financial incentives available covering over 600 qualifications, under the Australian Apprenticeship system, can you afford to not invest in the skill development of your industry?

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