The expansion of an apprentice wage subsidy scheme is set to keep employees like Jake Flanagan in work during the coronavirus pandemic.
The second year apprentice plumber has joined his employer Port Macquarie-based Affordable Plumbing in giving the thumbs up to the expansion of the apprentice and trainee wage subsidy.
Affordable Plumbing expects to be eligible for apprentice wage subsidy support after the federal government committed a further $1.5 billion to expand the scheme started in March due to COVID-19.
Medium-sized businesses with 199 or fewer employees will be eligible for apprentice wage support as part of the JobTrainer scheme.
Affordable Plumbing office manager Kandy McCarron said the business was assessing its JobTrainer eligibility with its book keeper and accountant but expected to roll over onto the apprentice wage subsidy after the JobKeeper program ended.
Mrs McCarron said the JobTrainer apprentice wage subsidy would make a major cash flow difference to the business.
"JobTrainer will allow us to keep the apprentices in work and prioritise their work so they don't end up with half of an apprenticeship and nowhere to apply their skills," she said.
The industry expects to feel a delayed impact from the coronavirus pandemic as previously locked in jobs end and the building sector experiences a slowdown.
Mr Flanagan enjoys the variety in his work days.
"It's not mundane and I am still learning stuff every day," he said.
Mr Flanagan praised the JobKeeper and JobTrainer schemes.
"It is allowing us to continue to work and complete our apprenticeships," he said.
"It allows the business to keep us employed so we can continue to learn and improve."
Cowper MP Pat Conaghan welcomed the additional $1.5 billion for the supporting apprentices and trainees measure.
"This means the 539 small businesses in Cowper already receiving the 50 per cent apprentice wage subsidy will receive it for a further six months, until March 2021," he said.
"In addition, it will enable businesses with apprentices who were previously ineligible to now receive support as medium businesses with up to 199 employees are now eligible for the wage subsidy for apprentices in place on July 1, 2020."
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