GAN Australia cautions against short term solutions

The Global Apprenticeship Network (GAN) Australia’s Executive Director, Gary Workman, has welcomed the Federal Government’s announcement of $1.27b in funding available until 30 September 2020 to small businesses retaining apprentices and trainees. Assistant Minister for Vocational Education, Training and Apprenticeships Steve Irons made the announcement to leading industry figures at a GAN Australia luncheon on Thursday.

“With 50 per cent of apprentice or trainee wages covered by this Government subsidy, small businesses will be better equipped to retain staff and secure their ongoing operation in the short term,” Mr Workman said, “If an apprentice or trainee is required to change employers during this time their wage will continue to be covered under the subsidy.”

“However, these subsidies are designed as an interim measure. We know from the Mitchell Institute’s 2017 report that taking on an apprentice or trainee can represent a significant long-term financial commitment for small businesses. For continued investment in training by business we need to see a return to economic growth and a coordinated approach to apprenticeship and training between business and government,”

Mr Workman said, “By recognising the impact of increasingly unpredictable economic conditions on small businesses these funding measures will provide some initial stability for employers who continue to support apprentices and trainees for the future of their industries. Importantly Group Training Organisations with host employers who have less than 20 employees will also be able to access this subsidy.”

The Federal Government has predicted that these wage subsidies will assist up to 117,000 apprentices and trainees to continue their employment in up to 70,000 small businesses across Australia. Subsidy payments to employers will be capped at $7,000 per apprentice, per quarter.

“The Government’s wage subsidy will address the immediate sensitivity of small businesses employing apprentices or trainees to external economic factors and we look forward to working closely with the Government to ensure a coordinated roll-out of funds.”

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