Government extends support to hire adult apprentices

Friday, 07 December, 2018

Government extends support to hire adult apprentices

A $27.7 million initiative by the Australian Government to extend the Support for Adult Australian Apprentices (SAAA) payment has been welcomed by the industry.

Until now, eligibility for the SAAA payment was limited to employers who engaged an eligible apprentice aged 25 or over. From 1 July 2019, those who take on an apprentice aged 21 to 24 years studying a Certificate III or IV qualification in areas of skills needs will be eligible to receive a one-off payment of $4000.

The Fair Work Commission determined that an ‘adult apprentice’ for wage purposes was someone aged 21 years or older when they started their apprenticeship, which has resulted in a disincentive for employers and a decline in apprentices aged 21–24.

Senator Michaelia Cash, Minister for Small and Family Business, Skills and Vocational Education, said the initiative will make it easier for Australians to start an apprenticeship.

“Older apprentices are some of the best workers in our community. The experience and maturity they bring to their apprenticeship — after years of studying or working elsewhere — are highly valued by employers.

“Extending the incentive payments initiative for adult apprentices will support 12,500 apprentices over three years from 2019–20.”

The National Electrical and Communications Association (NECA) has welcomed this incentive, and has long advocated providing a wage subsidy to support businesses who employ adult apprentices.

“This is a good outcome for our sector, and picks up on some of the recommendations to the federal government outlining our policy position on mature age apprentice wage subsidy,” said NECA CEO Suresh Manickam. “NECA welcomes the extension of the SAAA in 2019, which will help address the continuing decline of mature age apprenticeship numbers due to cost of wage impacts under the current Electrical, Electronic and Communications Contracting Award 2010.”

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