New incentives for businesses to hire apprentices on the way

THE Queensland Government has released a new plan to deliver incentives for businesses who take on school-based apprentices. 

Premier Campbell Newman and Education, Training and Employment Minister John-Paul Langbroek said there were many benefits to taking on a trade, both for students and the wider Queensland economy.

"Addressing skill shortages is vital for the economic prosperity of our great state, and the Can-Do LNP Government's strong plan is doing just that through a range of targeted training initiatives.

"The School to Trade Pathway incentive encourages employers to take on a school-based apprentice and retain them in a full-time apprenticeship after they finish school.

"Thousands of jobs are already being created under this Government, but there is more to do and we know that improving prospects for our students is the best way to give them a brighter future."

Mr Langbroek said the School to Trade Pathway incentive would benefit apprentices, employers, and Queensland as a whole.

"For students it means more opportunities to enter a full-time apprenticeship directly after school, gaining hands-on experience and training with an employer and a leg up towards a career or perhaps even a business of their own one day," Mr Langbroek said.

Member for Cook David Kempton said the initiative provided extra support for local employers to grow their business and share their knowledge and skills with the next generation of tradies.

"For Mareeba and Queensland, it means more apprentices and talented tradesmen and women, a better skilled workforce, and a greater pool of talent to grow our burgeoning economy," Mr Kempton said.

Mareeba State High School Principal Jo Soothill said school-based apprenticeships offered students a variety of benefits.

"Most jobs now require a Year 12 standard of literacy and numeracy. Undertaking a school-based apprenticeship allows students to start work on a trade while still studying in senior high school," Ms Soothill said.

"It also means that by the time they've finished school, they've already knocked one year off their apprenticeship.

Mareeba resident Jack Portelli recently graduated from Mareeba State High School and began as a full-time apprentice last week at Harvest Mareeba, where he had worked during his school-based apprenticeship.

He is undertaking a Certificate III (Engineering Mechanical Trade) where he will maintain cutters during the sugar cane harvesting season and rebuild the machines in the off-season.

Jack said he was happy to have started working full time at Harvest Mareeba as it allowed him to have a good job in his home town.

Jack's advice to other young people considering starting a school-based apprenticeship in 2015 is to "just go for it".

"It gets you off to a great start and gives you some real focus and direction. I am very happy I did it," Mr Portelli said.

Veronica Luhrs from mining and quarrying company Redcorp said school-based apprentices came into industry with a higher level of skills than most other school graduates.

"School-based apprentices are used to working a full day and their future employers are going to be very surprised to see they know what to do on a civil worksite and how to operate heavy machinery," Mrs Luhrs said.

"I wish we could hire even more apprentices. For us, they're the future. We're so happy to assist these kids by taking them on as apprentices and helping give them opportunities that they may not have had otherwise."

To find out more about the School to Trade Pathway incentive, including full eligibility criteria, visit http://www.training.qld.gov.au/information/investing-in-skills/apprentice.html



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