Kickstart bonus to end soon

BUTCHERS, bakers, cabinetmakers: Australia needs more of them and this summer the Federal Government has given a cash carrot to employers to take on apprentices in these and many other trades.

But time is running out for employers to take advantage of the Apprentice Kickstart Bonus.

The bonus, which ends on February 28, triples the first-year payment to companies that take on a young trainee.

It means a payment of $4850 in the first year of the training – more than three times the existing $1500 commencement incentive.

Employers will receive $2350 when they employ a 15- to 19-year-old apprentice in an eligible trade, and then are given another $2500 after nine months are completed.

Payments are made directly to the employer’s bank account.

The bonus is intended to help fill the nation’s skills shortage in certain trade occupations by encouraging employers to hire a young apprentice in a Certificate III or IV qualification.

Trade occupations that qualify for the Kickstart Bonus range from aircraft maintenance engineer to wood machinist, and include screen printers, landscape gardeners, shearers and pastry cooks.

When he launched the scheme in December, Employment Minister Mark Arbib said he hoped it would help support 21,000 young Australians entering traditional trades.

Local employment co-ordinator for Keep Australia Working, Terry Watson, said the local aim for the next few weeks was for 100 apprentices to find positions.

It was important, he said, not only for young people to be employed, but for a regional centre to keep youth in the area, to avoid them drifting off to the cities.

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