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Sparkies Support Skills Fund to Boost Apprentices

Master Electricians Australia has welcomed the Federal Government’s Budget announcement to create a $1.5 billion skills fund that will deliver another 300,000 apprentices and trainees over the next four years.

MEA CEO Malcolm Richards said that the fund has the potential to assist Australian employers fill the relevant skills gaps and strengthen Australia’s workforce.

“Master Electricians support any investment in apprenticeships and training that seeks to address Australia’s skill shortage,” Mr Richards said.

“The announcement did come as a surprise to the industry, however, we welcome the fact that the soon to be expired National Partnership Agreement on Skills Reform will be replaced.

“It is encouraging to see the Federal Government putting in place measures to boost Australian apprenticeships and we call on both the Opposition and the Senate Crossbench to fully support this policy.”

As part of the fund, state and territory governments will be required to provide matching funding. The fund also includes $350 million to be allocated as part of the government’s reforms of the 457 visa program.

“MEA supports the targeting of occupations currently reliant on skilled migration, while also looking to boost apprentice numbers in regional and rural areas,” Mr Richards said.

“The amounts available to each state and territory will depend on how much they are willing to contribute to the fund and we urge all state and territory governments to allocate as much funding as possible.

“MEA hopes that these changes find the balance between assisting young Australians to find work, while also ensuring Australia can attract talented workers from around the world.

Malcolm Richards is available for interview. Please phone The SAS Group on 07 3221 9222.

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