The Federal Government has announced a major overhaul of the country’s apprenticeship system,  with Minister for Skills, Senator Chris Evans, saying as much as 21,000 apprentices will be recruited under the reform.


The Government has outlined greater incentives to critical areas of the economy that are currently experiencing skills shortages, with the initial focus being on the construction industry.


"This means thousands more young Australians will have the opportunity to learn a trade and access the high-paid, high-skilled jobs in our economy," Senator Evans said.


The Kickstart initiative will give small to medium employers who employ an apprentice an additional $3,350 payment in two installments in December this year and February 2013.


"This increases the support to an apprentice in the traditional trade from $9500 to $12,850,"  Senator Evans said.


"This will see the demand for construction skills grow again and it is important that we start training Australians in those skills now. These reforms ensure we deliver the right skills, in the right areas, at the right time."


The reforms also provide greater incentives for employers to hire employees on a full time basis.


The Government will further reform the system to:

  • Balance the incentives paid to part-time and casual trainees in non-shortage occupations as a proportion of the incentive paid for a full-time trainee.
  • maintain support for trainees doing diplomas in the skills needs areas of aged care, child care and nursing while supporting other Diploma students through access to HECS style loans and the industry-driven National Workforce Development Fund.
  • Simplify and better target support for employers of adult apprentices (aged 25 years and over) by replacing weekly payments of $150 to employers in the first year of an adult apprenticeship and $100 in the second year with a one-off bonus payment of $4,000. Where employees aged 25 years and over are paid under the National Minimum Wage, they will continue to receive $13,000 in additional direct support over two years.


"By targeting our training investment to the areas where we know there will be strong demand for workers, we will ensure the demands of industry are met and that Australians are first in line for jobs, while also making sure these incentives are sustainable for the long term," Senator Evans said.