HANDY: apprentice Jayden Corsthwaite, Michelle Landry MP and Senator Michaelia Cash
HANDY: apprentice Jayden Corsthwaite, Michelle Landry MP and Senator Michaelia Cash

Apprentice subsidies in time for 'projects boom'

IT'S NOT every day an apprentice mechanic gets to rub shoulders with headline grabbing federal politicians like Capricornia MP Michelle Landry and Minister for Small Business Michaelia Cash, but that day came yesterday for Rockhampton mechanical apprentice, Jayden Corsthwaite.

The self proclaimed car enthusiast fell into his dream trade at FG Mechanical after spending three years trying to secure an apprenticeship.

"It took me a long time, about three years, to get an apprenticeship in Rockhampton but once I found the right person it was all good,” Jayden said.

"It's been so good, I'm not stressing as much as I used to because I never knew if I could get a job.

"My love of cars brought me to mechanics, I have always been interested in cars.

"There are a few people that I know that haven't found apprenticeships yet.”

Jayden's lucky break came as part of a federal trial program aiming to subsidise the wages of apprentices to foster employment.

It resulted in 25 local businesses being granted the subsidy to employ a first-year apprentice.

"Through this wage subsidy we are securing the skills our regional and rural businesses need to remain competitive and give local students new opportunities at home,” Senator Cash said.

Michelle Landry said the subsidy program was timely as her electorate was preparing for a projects boom with the flood levee, Rookwood Weir and the Rockhampton ring road all confirmed, some of which require large amounts of apprentice labour to meet procurement requirements for potential contractors.

The $60million Australian Apprenticeships Wage Subsidy, commenced on January 1, 2019 and offers employers subsidies worth 75 per cent of the apprentice's award wage in the first year, 50 per cent in the second year, and 25 per cent in the third year.

As for Jayden, he was simply grateful for the opportunity.

"This means heaps of things for me, it's a future, it's security,” he said.