Federal Member for Wide Bay, Llew O'Brien has welcomed the Liberal and Nationals Government's announcement of a $60 million investment to trial a wage subsidy as an incentive for employers in regional and rural communities to engage more apprentices.
"Under the subsidy, eligible employers within the Wide Bay electorate will be able to receive payments based on the apprentice's relevant award wage rates," said Mr O'Brien.
"The subsidies will be provided at 75 per cent of the apprentice's award wage in the first year, followed with 50 per cent in the second year and 25 per cent in the third year.
"This incentive will help to secure the skills our regional and rural businesses need to remain competitive and give local students new opportunities at home," Mr O'Brien said.
The trial is expected to see up to 1,630 new Australian Apprentices in areas of skills needs.
There are 3.3 million Australian small businesses which contribute around $395 billion annually to our economy.
"Small business plays a vital role in our community, from giving young Australians their first real job to supporting our local charities and sporting organisations," Mr O'Brien said.
From 1 January 2019, the new subsidy under the Australian Apprenticeships Incentives Program (AAIP), will support eligible new Australian Apprentices in areas such as plumbing, mechanical, electrical, painting trades and hairdressing.
"This new incentive will encourage businesses and employers to engage a new apprentice and turbo-charge someone's future career," Mr O'Brien said.
"This investment from the Liberal and Nationals Government is just another practical step we are taking to help create jobs and opportunities for small businesses and young people in the regions.
"A VET qualification is every bit as important to the economy as a university degree."
The new wage subsidy will complement other incentives currently available through the AAIP and support the engagement of eligible new full-time apprentices at the Certificate III and IV levels in occupations on the National Skills Needs List in regional and rural communities.