23/04/2009 - 00:00

More funding for apprenticeships

23/04/2009 - 00:00

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THE state government has launched two initiatives to boost apprenticeships and training, but the opposition says the government's plans are short-sighted and inadequate.

THE state government has launched two initiatives to boost apprenticeships and training, but the opposition says the government's plans are short-sighted and inadequate.

Training Minister Peter Collier announced group training organisations (GTOs) who take on retrenched apprentices would be eligible for payments of up to $1,800 from the state government.

The funding would be provided to GTOs to place apprentices with a new employer, allowing them to complete their training.

Mr Collier said the payment, which mirrored the federal government's Securing Apprenticeships initiative, would help cover an out-of-work apprentice's wages for up to 12 weeks.

Apprenticeship and Traineeship Company chief executive Stan Liaros said the initiative reflected a commitment from the state government to resurrect suspended or cancelled apprentices' careers.

"If you couple it with the federal government's [initiative] we're talking about potentially $300 a week for a period of 12 weeks to get employers over a difficult time, and also to assist an apprentice to get through that difficult time," Mr Liaros told WA Business News.

"It really does financially assist employers to make that decision to take somebody else back on."

But opposition training spokesperson Ljiljanna Ravlich said the initiative was short-sighted, as the plan did not address what would happen if an apprentice remained unemployed after 12 weeks.

"It is clearly not the long-term solution that apprentices need," Ms Ravlich said.

"The Barnett government must provide lasting initiatives that will help apprentices find more employment."

Although Mr Liaros welcomed the initiative, he said a longer-term plan would have been more appropriate.

"I would have liked to have seen a longer-term commitment if you like, but you're restricted in the sort of budgets that you have," Mr Liaros said

"Twelve weeks really sets a challenge."

Mr Collier also announced a partnership to provide training and employment opportunities in the Peel region.

Under the plan, Fairbridge WA and the Building and Construction Industry Training Fund would combine to establish the Building Maintenance Traineeship program.

The minister said the program would provide disadvantaged young people with the skills needed to gain apprenticeships.

STANDING BY BUSINESS. TRUSTED BY BUSINESS.

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