Tradies win in $2bn Aussie cash splash
Apprentices will have their pay covered by the Morrison Government and school leavers offered free training under a $2 billion investment to help support Australia's COVID-19 recovery.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison will announce the expanded wage subsidy worth up to $7,000 a quarter today, revealing the first element of the "second phase" of recovery after JobKeeper is phased out in September.
The fate of the $1500 a fortnight JobKeeper subsidy and the doubled dole payments is set to be announced next week in a major economic statement with the Prime Minister flagging ongoing support for some industries including Qantas.
The expanded apprentice wage subsidy to be announced on Thursday will now cover half the pay of up to 180,000 eligible apprentices until March, 2021, up to a maximum of $530-a-week.
For the first time, it will also be extended to medium-size businesses with less than 200 employees, as well as small businesses that are already covered.
As the economy is plunged into a recession, the Morrison Government hopes the new JobTrainer scheme will also help support hundreds of thousands of jobs for school leavers and the unemployed.
For school leavers facing the unemployment queue next year, it will offer 340,700 new trainees and 180,000 apprentices free and low-fee TAFE courses.
"JobTrainer will ensure more Australians have the chance to reskill or upskill to fill the jobs on the other side of this crisis," the Prime Minister said.
"COVID-19 is unprecedented but I want Australians to be ready for the sorts of jobs that will come as we build back and recover.
"The jobs and skills we'll need as we come out of the crisis are not likely to be the same as those that were lost."
But to be eligible for the wage subsidy, apprentices must be employed by July 1, 2020.
The short courses will target skills shortages identified by the states and the National Skills Commission (NSC).
They include training for jobs in Health Care and Social Assistance; Transport, Postal and Warehousing; Manufacturing; Retail Trade; and Wholesale Trade.
Employment Minister Michaelia Cash said the NSC would play a critical role in identifying current and future skills needed in a challenging and changing labour market.
"Our nation has faced many challenges, and it is critical that we keep our apprentices in jobs and help those looking for work," Minister Cash said.
"This package will be essential as the economy rebuilds so that people looking for work can reskill and upskill for in-demand jobs, provide school leavers with a pathway into their careers, and ensure businesses are able to get the skilled workers they need.
"We will work with States and Territories to develop a list of qualifications and skill sets that will provide job seekers with the skills that are in demand by employers and are critical to the economic recovery."
Originally published as Tradies win in $2bn Aussie cash splash