The region’s peak business organisation, the Illawarra Business Chamber, has welcomed the Federal Government’s announcement today that it would increase funding for existing apprentices, but says more still needs to be done to encourage employers to take on new apprentices.

“Today’s announcement of the JobTrainer fund and the extension of the Supporting Apprentices and Trainees wage subsidy is in line with strong recommendations made in our Skilling Australia for a better future: Supporting apprenticeships through COVID-19 report released last week,” said Adam Zarth, Executive Director of the Illawarra Business Chamber.
 
“Last week we used this report to describe how if nothing was done to extend the subsidy beyond the end of September some 1,800 fewer apprentices would be trained across the Illawarra and South Coast,” said Mr Zarth.
 
“Businesses across the Illawarra and South East will be encouraged by the ongoing support for apprentices beyond 30 September, which is looming large as an economic cliff.”
 
“On the down side, it is disappointing that there has been no announced increase in support for those wanting to commence an apprenticeship. It is critical that government works to ensure that businesses are not left facing a significant shortfall in the availability of skilled workers at a time when the economy is likely to rebound.”
 
“We remain hopeful that there will be additional announcements down the track to support employers who want to take on new starters.”
 
“The nation is still at risk of significant skills shortages in three years’ time without new starters coming on board. But the Government has shown it is serious about taking steps to address this issue now, and we commend them for it.”
 
“As part of the JobTrainer package, the National Skills Commission will need to ensure that the short courses being offered support people into employment or at least dramatically increase their chances of employment.”
 
“I would like to see this translate to a national industry-led pre-apprenticeship program, which will ensure this measure provides a more direct pathway to ongoing employment.”
 

Media Contact:  James Newton  0424 254 281