ANNOUNCED yesterday, the Australian Government is investing in a range of new programs to increase youth employment and apprenticeship completion rates.

Youth employment

Targeting regions where youth unemployment is high, Prime Minister Tony Abbott and Minister for Industry Ian Macfarlane jointly announced a $38 million Training for Employment Scholarship program to provide job specific training for new employees.

“Small to medium businesses who hire an unemployed person aged 18-24 will be eligible to receive funding to pay for up to 26 weeks of training,” the joint statement reads.

“7,500 scholarships will be provided initially to enable employers to hire new employees and provide them with the training they need to excel in their new jobs.”

According to the government, employers who are approved for a scholarship will be able to engage a training provider of their choice.

The government will also establish a new Youth Employment Pathways program to assist young Australians in regional areas to begin a career path by returning to school, starting vocational education training or moving into the workforce.

“Community organisations will be able to apply for funding to deliver support services and training to young Australians aged 15-18 who are not in school,” the statement reads.

“3,000 places will be offered initially and enable community organisations to develop and provide a training plan to meet individual needs such as job search and industry specific job training.”

Both youth employment programs will begin in March 2015. Read the full government statement here.

Apprenticeship support

Also announced yesterday is the establishment of an Australian Apprenticeship Support Network in which the Australian Government will invest $200 million each year to lift apprenticeship completion rates from the current 50 per cent.

The new network will replace the current system of apprenticeship centres which the government claims ‘is largely administrative…without the appropriate support that apprentices and employers need’.

Set to commence from 1 July 2015, the government says the new system will make it easier for employers to recruit, train and retain apprentices and trainees.

“Apprentices will be assisted to find an employer to begin their apprenticeship and receive mentoring through to the successful completion of their apprenticeship,” Prime Minister Abbott and Minister Macfarlane’s joint statement reads.

“The new network will provide a one-stop-shop for employers, particularly small business, looking to hire a new apprentice suited to their business.”

Read the full government statement here.

As a member of the advisory board leading reform of Australia’s vocational education and training (VET) system, AMMA continues to consult closely with the federal government on the resource industry’s training and skills needs.

For more information, contact AMMA senior policy adviser Tristan Menalda via [email protected] or (03) 9614 4777.