SA budget 2017: Grants boosted for new apprentices and trainees
Payments will be boosted by as much as $5,000 for businesses taking on apprentices and trainees as part of the South Australian Government’s existing job accelerator grants, in a state budget measure.
Small and medium businesses can seek the extra cash as the Government tries to ease the impact a shutdown of car industry production could have on SA’s unemployment rate, which is currently the highest in the nation.
The scheme unveiled in last year’s budget offered businesses with payrolls of less than $600,000 a grant of up to $4,000 over two years for each new job created.
Bigger businesses were eligible for grants of up to $10,000 over two years for each full-time job created.
Thursday’s state budget will boost the grants on offer to $9,000 [small business] and $15,000 [medium] for a new position taken up by an apprentice or trainee.
New grants will be backdated so that businesses which have already hired a new apprentice or trainee and registered for the scheme can claim the higher sum.
Grants create ‘thousands’ of jobs
The budget measure is expected to cost an additional $8 million over four years.
“These grants, announced in last year’s state budget, have exceeded forecasts and already helped create almost 10,000 jobs in the economy,” Premier Jay Weatherill said.
“By offering an additional $5,000 for apprentices, we can create more jobs for younger people in South Australia and, at the same time, support South Australian businesses as they invest and grow.”
Treasurer Tom Koutsantonis said the extra money would help cushion the blow from the local car industry’s demise.
“While Holden won’t close its doors until October, we are already seeing the impact on component manufacturers as their forward supply contracts dry up,” he said.
Business SA chief executive Nigel McBride welcomed the scheme’s expansion.
“We’ve had disastrously low apprenticeship and trainee numbers, the worst they’ve been in years,” he said.
“Something has to stimulate small businesses, small employers, to take a huge risk which is a minimum commitment of four years for an apprentice.”