Employers who take on a new engineering apprentice from now to February 28 2013 will be paid an extra $3,350 - in addition to the $1,500 commencement payment for those eligible - as part of an expansion to the federal government's multi-million dollar Kickstart initiative.
Minister for skills, senator Chris Evans, announced on January 25 that nine additional key engineering trades are now eligible for Kickstart payments, which triple incentives previously given to employers in the first year of taking an apprentice.
"Engineering skills are critical to our economy and that's why Labor is working with employers and unions to boost the numbers of Australians in apprenticeships," Senator Evans said.
"Almost every part of the economy relies on these skills in some way but the numbers of apprentices in training isn't keeping up with the growing number of jobs being created for engineering trades."
Senator Evans said that this makes it important to boost the number of apprentices in engineering trades now and help more Australians learn these skills.
Ai Group Chief Executive Innes Willox welcomed the change, adding: "Engineering apprentice commencements have not fully recovered to pre-GFC levels."
"The extension of the Kickstart initiative to small and medium size enterprise employers of apprentices in the engineering trades is warranted immediately."
New eligible trades for Kickstart payments are fitter, fitter and turner, fitter-welder, aircraft maintenance engineer - both avionics and mechanical - metal fabricator, metal machinist, pressure welder and toolmaker.