Jobs boost for mature-age apprentices

Premier Mark McGowan has announced a pilot program to boost the employment rate of mature-age apprentices and trainees in the building and construction industry.

He said the new $3.4 million pilot would enable employers of new mature age apprentices to receive additional support on top of the standard Construction Training Fund (CTF) grants, and would be based on the annual gap in the award rate for mature-aged apprentices.

The Premier said the program would help alleviate some of the additional wage costs faced by employers who might be considering a mature-age apprentice.

“The pilot will offer mature-age people an opportunity to secure a pathway into a rewarding career in the building and construction industry,” the Premier said.

“It will help to break down some of the barriers that can prevent mature-age apprentices from entering the workforce.”

The 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. 

To be eligible for participation in the program applicants must demonstrate previous success in apprentice training completion, success in engagement and retention of Aboriginal and female apprentices, and the provision of appropriate support services for apprentices, trainees and employers.

One hundred and fifty places will be available with 100 allocated to Group Training Organisations and 50 allocated to direct indenture employers with a minimum 15% participation rate of female and indigenous apprentices in the program.

“Having a pipeline of skilled workers is critical to the success of the State’s recovery post COVID-19 and our priority is to ensure Western Australians fill these roles,” the Premier said.

“The program will help the building and construction industry diversify its workforce at a time when thousands of jobs are being created through my Government’s WA Recovery Plan.”

The grants will be exclusive of overtime and other allowances, leave and superannuation costs, and apply for the period an apprentice or trainee remains actively employed in a training contract. Electrical is exempt from the mature-age pilot program as there is an approved pilot program in place, the Premier said.

“CTF’s intention with this initiative is to provide the building and construction industry with additional support to grow and diversify its workforce, particularly at a time when the Government’s WA Recovery Plan has created a strong pipeline of work,” said Chairman of the Building and Construction Industry Training Board Reg Howard-Smith.