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Wednesday, June 3, 2020
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Assistance for small businesses who retain apprentices

AC Electrical & Air Bundaberg Solar
Apprentice Kaleb Bax and Ashley Clark, owner operator of AC Electrical & Air Bundaberg Solar

In these times of business uncertainty, a number of measures are being taken from this Thursday to support small businesses who retain apprentices and trainees.

In a Federal Government initiative starting 2 April 2020, small businesses employing fewer than 20 employees who retain an apprentice or trainee will be able to apply for a wage subsidy of 50 per cent of the apprentice’s or trainee’s wage.

The subsidy will be for a nine month period from 1 January 2020 to 30 September 2020. 

Where a small business is not able to retain an apprentice, the subsidy will be available to a new employer that employs that apprentice.

Support will also be provided to the National Apprentice Employment Network, the peak national body representing Group Training Organisations.

Employers will be reimbursed up to a maximum of $21,000 per eligible apprentice or trainee ($7,000 per quarter).

Ensuring development of skilled workforce

Ben Artup, Council’s Executive Director Strategic Projects & Economic Development said the program would help small businesses retain their apprentices and trainees and help to ensure the continued development of the skilled workforce that employers need now and, in the future.

“As an employer of apprentices across the region, we believe that keeping apprentices in work and being able to continue their development into qualified trades people is pivotal to the future development of our region,” Ben said.

Local businesses are looking to utilise the assistance package.

Ashley Clark, owner operator of AC Electrical & Air Bundaberg Solar said it would be a huge help.

“We have five apprentices in our business and we are 100% aware and already planning to apply for this assistance,” Ashley said.

“It will provide us with some breathing room in these uncertain times.

“We have work flowing through now and we are trying to stretch this out across the team, but with the changes that are happening we just don’t know how long it will last or what new work may come in”.

Apprentice Kaleb Bax is glad that he works for a company that’s doing its best to keep them informed.

“We all appreciate being kept up to date and this assistance to retain apprentices gives us some peace of mind,” Kaleb said.

“Apprentices are thankful to still have a job.”

Ashley and Kaleb agree that all levels of government need to be looking at spending money on infrastructure projects.

“This will help keep businesses stay open and working which flows onto apprentices staying in work,” Ashley said.

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