27 January 2021
Apprentice employers today welcomed the West Australian government’s unveiling of a pilot program to help take on mature-age apprentices and trainees in the building and construction industry.
The pilot, announced by Premier Mark McGowan and Education and Training Minister Sue Ellery, will see financial support provided for employers of mature-age apprentices in order to offset higher wage costs.
The government also committed, if re-elected, to funding the ‘gap’ in total wage costs between mature age and junior apprentices for 200 additional apprentices, in a pledge worth $5.2 million.
Stuart Diepeveen, Chairman of the Apprentice Employment Network WA (AEN WA) welcomed the initiatives, saying they would help address a key issue of importance to many employers who want to engage more mature age apprentices and trainees.
“We are seeing many more mature age people wanting to embark on apprenticeships and traineeships, but they face the hurdle of higher wage costs which can serve as a disincentive.
“The COVID pandemic has caused many to re-think their career choices and has seen a lot of interest in apprenticeships and traineeships from older workers.
“We need to look at everything we can to give mature age workers a chance to take up an apprenticeship or traineeship, because they frequently bring added life experience, skills and knowledge, which is a real advantage to their employers,” Mr Diepeveen said.
The group training network looks forward to working with the government to help place apprentices and trainees through AEN WA member Group Training Organisations (GTOs) and providing them with the mentoring and support that is the hallmark of group training.
The pilot program includes the construction trades of brick and blocklaying; carpentry and joinery; civil construction (Certificate III traineeship); concreting; painting and decorating; plastering; plumbing and gasfitting; roof plumbing; wall and ceiling fixing; and wall and floor tiling.
The pilot will see a total of 150 places made be available, with 100 allocated to GTOs and 50 to direct employment, with a minimum 15 per cent for female and Indigenous apprentices.
This is a great opportunity to tackle what has often been a barrier to engaging mature age apprentices and giving them a chance to develop skills that will last a lifetime. It is also encouraging that more female and Indigenous apprentices will have a chance to enter the industry.
AEN WA looks forward to participating in the pilot program with the State Government and the Building and Construction Industry Training Board in order to help diversify the workforce and overcome what has been an obstacle to many aspiring apprentices and trainees.
Anyone seeking a mature age apprenticeship or traineeship can visit the AEN WA website to find a GTO member who can help.
Media Contact: Bob Bowden, Foresight Communications Ph 0412 753 298 firstname.lastname@example.org
The Apprentice Employment Network WA (AEN WA) is the peak association representing 17-member Group Training Organisations operating in Western Australia. It was incorporated in 1993 and is a not-for-profit registered charity. AEN WA members are located throughout metropolitan and regional Western Australia and deliver apprenticeships and traineeships within a wide range of industries.