The Federal Government has announced it will boost investment in future-workforce apprenticeships, especially those in high-demand sectors experiencing skills shortages, such as clean energy.
The government is committing $100 million over four years to 10,000 new clean-energy apprentices, with funding to continue across the full term of apprenticeships.
With Australia committed to a net-zero emissions target by 2050 and the renewable energy industry booming, there is an urgent need for skilled workers to cover the current shortfall. However, apprenticeship completion rates are at an all-time low, and it is hoped this funding boost will give the industry a much-needed injection of qualified labour as the transition to clean energy ramps up.
With the new funding plan, clean energy apprentices will receive six-monthly payments of $2000 for the duration of the apprenticeship.
Under the current system, employers in “priority areas” receive a wage subsidy of 10 per cent of wages for the first two years of an apprenticeship and five per cent for the third year, totalling $15,000.
Apprentices in “priority occupations” receive $1250 every six months, but only for the first two years of their apprenticeship so this new funding model announced by Minister for Skills and Training Brendan O’Connor is a significant upgrade for individuals.
“Our workforce is not ready to move in the direction we need to unless we invest quickly into apprenticeships,” he says.
“Apprenticeship completion rates have fallen with not much over half [of them] complete.
“We’re looking at a model that’s providing more support throughout the life of the apprenticeship to the employer and apprentice because it’s often cost-of-living pressures that force apprentices out because they can’t afford to live on their wage.
“We want to invest in productivity-enhancing areas. I believe skills invested in areas of demand will contribute to economic growth and modernise our workforce.”