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Investing in the skilled workers of the future

4 June 2014

The Australian Government is investing in national productivity gains and the skilled workers of the future, today delivering its plan for the $1.9 billion Trade Support Loans to equip young apprentices with the skills for real world jobs.

Minister for Industry Ian Macfarlane today introduced legislation to allow Trade Support Loans to start from July 1, as part of the Government’s comprehensive plan to create a more responsive skills and training system that cuts red tape and trains apprentices that are job-ready.

“Australia’s productivity and competitiveness depend on a highly trained workforce,” Mr Macfarlane said.

“Trade Support Loans will help more apprentices complete their training and get the skills they need to fill the jobs that businesses want.

“Many young apprentices do it tough in the early years and these loans, paid monthly, will ease the financial burden and help increase training completion rates.

“Trade Support Loans are interest free.  They are indexed annually with CPI, but aren’t subject to a commercial rate of interest as a bank loan would be.

“This is the policy we took to the election, and this is the policy we are implementing.

“Our Trade Support Loans are a responsible investment in the nation’s future tradespeople.

“The Australian Government has an Economic Action Strategy that will build a stronger economy, create new jobs and bring Labor’s debt and deficit disaster under control.”

The Trade Support Loans programme offers loans of up to $20,000 which are repayable once apprentices are earning a sustainable income of around $50,000.  Apprentices will receive a 20 per cent reduction in the amount of the loan once they complete their training.

The programme targets occupations on the National Skills Needs List such as plumbers, diesel mechanics, electricians and fitters, as well as well priority areas in horticulture and agriculture with more than 100 qualifications eligible.

“We are building a diverse five-pillar economy that focuses on our strengths in manufacturing and innovation, agricultural exports, advanced services, world-class education and research and mining,” Mr Macfarlane said.

“The Government will continue to work with industry to ensure that the skills and training sector is responsive to their needs and is an effective catalyst for the industries and jobs of the future.”

Media contacts: Mr Macfarlane's office 02 6277 7070