Good news for apprentices

SUSPENDED Gippsland apprentices could be re-employed following a $300,000 initiative announced by the State Government last week.

Employers will now be offered $4000 per apprentice by the government, as a response to “recent fluctuations in the job market”.

The funding which falls under the Regional Growth Fund was announced by State Skills Minister Peter Hall in a bid to push this “as a desperate need”.

The arrangement is expected to get about 50 apprentices back in work – an arrangement welcomed by Apprenticeship Group Australia.

“We’re very pleased the government has introduced this initiative,” AGA employment and training manager Phil Backman said.

“The funding is available for employers to re-engage any apprentices that are out of trade, whether it is an AGA apprentice or not.”

The organisation recently suspended about 30 of its apprentices, but has since re-engaged eight of those apprentices, according to Mr Backman.

The government’s announcement was made in light of the launch of the State of the Valley report – aimed at providing the government with information upon which “decision making can be made”.

According to Mr Hall, arising out of the report “was an identification of the need to try and assist getting unplaced apprentices back with an employer”.

When asked what the take-up rate was expected out of this $300,000 initiative, given a declining employment market, Mr Hall said he hoped “in some cases it might make the difference between taking someone on or not taking someone on”.

“This is a start, if it successful there is always opportunity to come back and revisit it and see if it is successful,” he said.

“The (Latrobe Valley Industry and) employment roadmap (to be launched by the government at a later stage) will give us further guidance of what we see as future industry possibilities for this region.”