The Australian Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman Kate Carnell has welcomed the federal government’s $2 billion JobTrainer skills package, saying it will deliver the skilled workers that SMEs need.
The JobTrainer package will support SMEs employing apprentices and trainees with a 50% wage subsidy, up to $7,000 per quarter.
Ms Carnell says the original package has been expanded for an additional six months to end in March 2021 and is now available to businesses with less than 200 employees for apprentices employed from 1 July 2020.
“This is an excellent initiative that shows the government is responding to the needs of SMEs,” Ms Carnell says.
“This program expansion will mean up to 90,000 SMEs will be supported in keeping their apprentices and trainees in work.”
JobTrainer will also provide 340,700 training places to help people access short and long courses to develop skills in growth sectors.
“Importantly, this program is offering free or low-cost training to people in fields of study where jobs are available,” Ms Carnell says.
“It also provides SMEs with the skilled workers they need right now.
“As our COVID-19 Recovery Plan points out, small businesses consistently report that availability of suitable labour remains a major challenge. This problem has been even more pronounced in regional and remote areas.
“JobTrainer addresses these issues as well as the fact that the jobs and skills SMEs will need coming out of this crisis will likely be different to those that have already been lost.
“The package will provide school leavers with a pathway to practical qualifications and older people out of work with the opportunity to retrain at very little or no cost.
“The measures announced today will be a significant contribution to our national economic recovery.”