Electricians’ association seeks subsidies for mature-age apprentices

Ms. Wells, of Avondale Heights, northwest of Melbourne, said she had always been drawn to electrical work, but pushed the idea aside, thinking it was “not for women”. Starting an apprenticeship at a ripe old age was also a daunting prospect.

“In the end I bit the bullet,” she said. “As an executive assistant, I got a decent salary, but I didn’t want to do it forever.

“Money is not the most important thing. I wanted a new challenge. I was something I couldn’t see me at a desk in my entire life. “

Because Ms. Wells was older than the average apprentice, she still had bills and a mortgage to pay, reducing her lifestyle.

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“I sold my car and downgraded things and moved things to make them work,” she said.

“I was fortunate to have a partner who would support me.”

Mr Judd said there are tens of thousands of skilled and experienced workers considering career changes to achieve job security and provide for their families.

“It’s just not feasible for a mature worker with a family paying rent or a mortgage to fall back on junior apprentice wages,” he said.

“NECA is calling on the federal government to implement a rebate program that companies can use to reclaim the wage gap when they are ready to hire a mature apprentice,” he said.

Megan Lilly, director of education and training for the Australian industrial group, said it was important that people of all ages and backgrounds be encouraged and eligible for training.

“This includes exploring different ways of making mature apprenticeships attractive options for employers,” she said. “Mature apprentices bring experience and maturity with them. This usually allows for a short training period. Wage subsidies or other incentives should be taken into account. However, strategies to help older workers become apprentices must never compromise opportunities for young people. “

Earlier this month, the federal government responded to the AiG’s call to expand its wage subsidy system for employers in order to take on more trainees. The government will provide at least $ 1.2 billion to employers to recruit 70,000 apprentices over the next year. Up to 100,000 trainees have been employed since the federal government announced the wage subsidy system in October last year.

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A spokesperson for Minister of Employment and Skills Michaelia Cash said apprentices and mature apprentices were part of the government’s initiative to promote apprenticeships with a 50 percent wage subsidy of up to $ 7,000 per quarter for the first 12 months . As of March 10, more than half of the registrations under the program were for workers age 21 and older.

“The Australian Apprenticeships Incentives program also has targeted incentives to encourage employers to take mature workers into training,” the spokesman said.

“The Australian government will continue to work closely with industry on the budget process.”

The Victorian government also launched a program last year to help trainees who lost their jobs during the pandemic find new roles to continue their education.

Victoria Education and Skills Minister Gayle Tierney said the state’s apprenticeship and apprenticeship program has helped more than 250 apprentices and apprentices displaced by the coronavirus pandemic restart their training or internship with a new employer .

“In the 2020-21 Victorian budget, we invested a record $ 1 billion in making sure the state had the training and qualification system it needed to come out of the coronavirus pandemic,” she said.

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Anna Patty is a senior writer for The Sydney Morning Herald, specializing in higher education. She is a former workplace editor, education editor, state political reporter, and health reporter.

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