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Government to boost apprentices in construction trades by 21,000



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SENATOR THE HON CHRIS EVANS Leader of the Government in the Senate Minister for Tertiary Education, Skills, Science and Research

MEDIA RELEASE

24 October 2012

Government to boost apprentices in construction trades by 21,000

The Gillard Government will increase the number of apprentices in construction trades and boost completion rates by ensuring they have increased support during their apprenticeship.

The Gillard Government will spend $57.5 million to effectively triple the incentive paid to employers who employ apprentices in the construction trades.

Minister for Skills, Senator Chris Evans, said the Kickstart initiative is designed to give young Australians the opportunity to learn a trade in the construction industry.

“Our economy needs more skilled workers - more plumbers, more electricians, more carpenters,” he said.

“The construction sector employs nearly a million Australians and this boost to traditional trades is needed because conditions in the housing sector are set to improve into 2014 and 2015.

“This will see the demand for construction skills grow again and it is important that we start training Australians in those skills now.”

Senator Evans said the Kickstart initiative will provide a $3,350 payment in two instalments to small and medium employers, who employ an apprentice in a construction trade.

“Increasing incentives is one of the ways the Gillard Government is supporting Australians to complete an apprenticeship,” Senator Evans said.

“Poor completion rates among apprentices point to the need for more support to be provided which is why the Government is also investing in mentoring programs.”

Twelve experienced mentors appointed by the Housing Industry Association (HIA) will help apprentices complete their training in construction and manufacturing thanks to a $1.3 million grant from the Gillard Government.

Announcing the project with HIA and apprentices today, Senator Evans said the Mentoring Program is helping nearly 700 Australian Apprentices in the industry.

“This will provide a comprehensive and intensive mentoring support in the first 12 months of an apprenticeship, when apprentices are traditionally most at risk of dropping out,” Senator Evans said.

“There is clear evidence that mentoring apprentices improves the apprenticeship experience and is critical when it comes to navigating the difficulties that can arise.

“The Government’s reforms will mean more Australians will complete their apprenticeship giving them a greater chance of getting a high skilled and high paying job.

“This coordinated approach of incentives and support will ensure we deliver the right skills, in the right areas, at the right time.

“This means thousands more young Australians will have the opportunity to learn a trade and share in the economic opportunities ahead.”

Senator Evans’ Media Contact: Rhys Davies 0411 138 572