Gillard announces cash for apprentices

Prime Minister Julia Gillard on promised today that apprentices would receive the tax exempt bonuses when they reached training milestones.

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The extra money boosts payments apprentices already receive, meaning they would now get $5500 in total over the course of their training.

The $334 trades apprentice income bonus will work in conjunction with the tools for your trade (TFYT) payments.

Under the scheme, apprentices will get an additional $200 after their first and second years, bringing the 12- and 24-month payments to $1000 each.

They’ll get an extra $500 after their third year of training, taking the 36-month payment to $1200, and another $800 upon completion of their apprenticeship, giving them a final bonus of $1500.

The three month TFYT payment remains the same, at $800, taking total apprentice payments to $5500.

Ms Gillard said she was concerned that about 28,000 apprentices were lost to trades each year because they did not finishing their training.

“An additional 50,000 apprentices are expected to start and stick with their apprenticeship as a result of our apprentice income bonus,” she said at Blacktown RSL in Sydney’s west.

Trade apprentices on the national skills list will be eligible for the bonuses if they start their apprenticeship after January 1, 2009.

Labor also has promised to invest $20 million in mentoring for up to 40,000 apprentices in 2011-12, to help them tackle work-related issues such as stress or time management.

Both initiatives will cost $354 million over the forward estimates.

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