New Government Support for WA Bricklaying Apprentices
Photo Credit: ABN completing Apprentice and Host Employer – Adam Westwood and Westyn Ruyter with their graduation certificates. Westyn completed on the 31/01/2020 and was a Perth Region Gold Medallist in the last WorldSkills Australia competition.
Since 2015 the decline in WA residential building activity and the consequential steady demise of bricklaying apprentice numbers, ABBTF and industry partners (such as ABN Training, HIA and MBA) have been lobbying State and Federal Government for an urgent review of all bricklaying apprenticeship training arrangements.
This includes employer and apprentice support payment values, payment frequency for both Group Training Companies and Direct Indenture and access to any other funding streams both State and Federal that could enable an employer or host to help maintain the apprenticeship status.
This challenge has been made harder in recent months with the outbreak of the Covid-19 virus which has affected both our economy and the way in which we Attract, Train and Retain Apprentices. Apprentice numbers in our trade where already low, of which a further reduction in employer confidence had the potential to cause irreversible damage to an already fragile bricklaying training industry in WA.
Last week WA Premier Mark McGowan announced a $24.5M support package for our Construction Industry, in the form of additional financial assistance for employers of apprentices squarely aimed to maintain Training Contracts.
Access to this meaningful and very much accessible funding is timely and appropriate. What is particularly unique about this package is that a major component of the funding will be provided in an upfront once off payment of $2,000 for employers of current apprentices. The second part consists of monthly payments to employers of bricklaying apprentices to the tune of $500, backdated to the 1st of April and available from 1st of July.
Monthly payments will be available for at least the next six months and after a review of its effectiveness, has the potential to go well beyond that period.
This package is in addition to the current incentives paid by the CTF, ABBTF and Federal Government which for bricklaying in WA is as much as $25,000 over the term of the apprenticeship.
ABBTF along with the Industry Partners will be working with the CTF as from this week to review payment periods for all Employers, as many are living “hand to mouth” day by day and week by week.
ABBTF applauds the Premier of Western Australia, DTWD and the Construction Training Fund for taking affirmative action in a timely fashion and looks forward to further Government reforms in this area.
Employers will be sent an email of how to apply for the grant. If you do not receive it within the next week then please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
For apprentices to apply for the subsidy to up-skill they will need to visit the CTF portal. To learn more about this package please visit the CTF website – ctf.wa.gov.au.
Dean Pearson WA Manager