Employers to receive up to $6000 for new apprentices

THE Queensland State Government is set to pay employers up to $6,000 for each additional apprentice taken on this financial year.

Minister for Education, Training and Employment John-Paul Langbroek said the $36 million Queensland Apprenticeship Pledge was an investment in the state's future and took the government a step closer to delivering on its election promise to create 10,000 new apprenticeships by 2018.

"At the election, the LNP committed $86 million to create an extra 10,000 apprenticeships by 2018 and we are well on the way to achieving this goal," Mr Langbroek said.

Launching the Apprenticeship Pledge at the South Brisbane headquarters and training facility of Queensland entrepreneur and employer Stefan Ackerie, Mr Langbroek and Assistant Minister for Technical and Further Education Saxon Rice encouraged businesses, large and small, to be part of the initiative.

"A thriving economy needs a skilled workforce, which is why we are calling on employers to accept the challenge and make the pledge," Ms Rice said.

"This is a fantastic opportunity for industry to invest in providing Queenslanders with the skills they need for increased employment opportunities.

"It will also give confidence to mums and dads that their children will have a better chance at gaining skills and employment."

Mr Langbroek said the Pledge also provided an incentive for businesses that hadn't previously employed an apprentice to take one on.

"The four pillars of the state's economy - the resources, tourism, construction and agriculture industries - are all significant employers of apprentices and I have no doubt that these industries will benefit from this exciting initiative.

"Under the Queensland Apprenticeship Pledge we've set a target of 6,000 new apprentices, taken on this financial year over and above normal recruitment and retention practices.

"The only way to get the bonus is to pledge to employ additional apprentices, so I encourage businesses to sign up to the Apprenticeship Pledge today."

Mr Ackerie, a major employer of apprentices in Queensland with around 200 from a total of 540 staff, said he was proud to take up the Pledge.

"As one of Queensland's most significant employers of new apprentices, I think this is a great idea and should give employers the confidence to look at their apprentice numbers with a view to expanding," Mr Ackerie said.

"I rate the employment, education and training of thousands of people as one of my proudest contributions to Australia over 50 years in business.

"In 1995, I entered a partnership with the Southbank Institute of TAFE to establish a joint training venture, which has grown into the purpose built education centre you see here today.

"Today, Stefan Hair Fashions is pledging to start an additional 30 apprentices in response to the Queensland Apprenticeship Pledge."

Employers can sign up to the pledge at www.training.qld.gov.au/pledge