The significant increase in apprenticeship and traineeship commencements announced today continues the strong inroads made in skilling our local workforce. However, to lock in and continue these strong gains, wage subsidies to support businesses employing an apprentice or trainee must be extended.
“With businesses right across the country facing the most severe skill and labour shortages in decades, now is not the time to end wage subsidies for businesses employing a new apprentice or trainee,” ACCI chief executive Andrew McKellar said.
“Figures released by the National Centre for Vocational Education Research (NCVER) reveal that commencements grew nationally by 48,750 in the September quarter 2021, representing an 84.1 per cent increase on commencement numbers in the same quarter in 2020.
“The Federal Government’s Boosting Apprenticeship Commencements program has been outstandingly successful in reversing a decade of decline in apprenticeship numbers. However, with the initiative slated to end on 31 March, businesses are looking to the Federal Budget to extend the program.
“Setting a 30 per cent wage subsidy in the first 12 months of trade apprenticeships, and first 6 months of one year traineeships, will ensure that the program is both sustainable and sufficient to continue the momentum in commencements.
“As we continue to recover from the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, we need to rebuild our skills base and provide business with the workforce it needs to expand their operations, create jobs and grow the economy.
“Our policy paper released today, ‘Overcoming Australia’s Labour and Skills Shortages’, identifies apprenticeships and traineeships are fundamental to plugging labour and skills shortages. Without continued investment, we risk reversing the strong gains that have been made.