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Time running out to get construction industry Kickstart subsidy

30 January, 2013

The federal government's Kickstart program runs out at the end of February.

Construction industry employers who want to take advantage of the $3350 incentive, on top of the $1500 commencement payment to put on an apprentice, should contact a group training organisation as soon as possible to be matched with the right candidate.

Although contracts and cash flow feel tight at the moment, Naomi Dinnen, executive officer of the Group Training Association of NSW and ACT, speaking to IndustrySearch, says businesses need to forward plan for the predicted upturn in 2014 and 2015.

IS: Times are tough and putting on unskilled staff is a big risk. Is now the best time for business to take on apprentices?

ND: Times are tough – job ads in the construction industry are down 9 per cent. It might seem counterintuitive, but these are just the right times to put on an apprentice. Rather than pulling a productive person off the job, businesses should use their idle capacity to conduct training and make sure their workers are skilled by the time the upturn comes around. Macromonitor predicts that will be in 2014-2015.

Businesses will find the financial incentive offered by the federal government as part of the Kickstart program is a big help if they're looking to take on apprentices, but are not quite sure if now is the right time. And with the help of group training, there's no risk to the host business, and no administrative burden.

IS: What support does the Group Training Association provide to employers who decide to go down this route?

ND: The Group Training organisation takes on all the risk of putting on an apprentice, so it's a great service for small and medium enterprises who might be worried about having enough ongoing work for an apprentice, and don't want to have to deal with paperwork and red tape.

The GTO is the legal employer, taking care of WH&S, workers compensation premiums, compliance, payroll, awards and flexibility. If all of a sudden a business finds it can no longer afford the apprentice, the GTO can make sure that person is placed with another host business and the training which has been begun doesn't go to waste.

IS: What would you say to school leavers who want to go into a trade?

ND: An apprenticeship is the ideal way to move into an industry with an identified skills shortage. On the job training provides you with the best possible start to your career. Group Training Organisations are employers who can help you find the right apprenticeship in the industry you want to work in.

We work on your personal skills to make sure you're getting the most out of your apprenticeship, organise your off-the-job training at TAFE or another Registered Training Organisation and guarantee your wages, so if the company you're working for can't keep you on, you'll continue to be paid by us while we find you another place.

IS: When do employers have to register with a group training association by? What's involved?

ND: Right away — construction industry employers who want to take advantage of the $3350 incentive on top of the $1500 commencement payment to put on an apprentice should contact a group training organisation as soon as possible to be matched with the right candidate.

Find a GTO who can help you find the right apprentice for your business at http://www.gtana.com.au/find-a-gto-member/listing.

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