JobTrainer initiative forges regional jobs

Abe Cebulski, Josh Jenner Dsc 6358  TBW Newsgroup
AT EASE: Second year apprentice boilermaker Abe Cebulski and third year fitter and turner apprentice Josh Jenner welcomed the government funding package. Pictures: JAMES MURPHY

Abe Cebulski, Tony Pason, Josh Jenner, Melanie Whitty Dsc 6346  TBW Newsgroup
PEACE OF MIND: Australian businesses will be given financial support to keep apprentices and trainees employed, which comes as welcome news to apprentice boilermaker Abe Cebulski, Member for Barker Tony Pasin, apprentice fitter and turner Josh Jenner and Whitty Engineering financial manager Melanie Whitty.

A LIMESTONE Coast engineering firm has been buoyed by the Federal Government’s JobTrainer skills package which will help employ new apprentices within the next 12 months.

The $2b JobTrainer package is expected to benefit around 180,000 workers nationally, covering 50pc of wages paid to eligible apprentices and trainees until atleast March next year.

Whitty Engineering managing director Will Whitty said the wage subsidy had made a big difference to his company, which employs 11 apprentices.

The Mount Gambier-based business was previously ineligible due to its size, but has since qualified after changes were made to include medium businesses with less than 200 employees.

“We are not far off looking for apprentices for next year now, so that gives us some good confidence moving forward,” Mr Whitty said.

Adding to the optimism has been construction projects in the region, offsetting the impacts of COVID-19 on interstate and international clients.

“Luckily there has been quite a lot of work going on locally with the timber industries being quite strong and busy,” Mr Whitty said.

“It is still an uncertainty, but at this stage it is positive.”

Member for Barker Tony Pasin visited Whitty Engineering late last week to discuss the vital package which will keep Australian apprentices employed.

“Through the Supporting Apprentices and Trainees measure over $365.5m has already been paid to more than 47,000 employers to help keep 81,000 apprentices and trainees in work and training,” he said.

“Expanding this initiative to include larger businesses means an additional 20,000 businesses and 63,000 apprentices will be supported, including at Whitty Engineering.

“It is businesses like Whitty Engineering that have been so important not only for employment, but training in the Limestone Coast too.

“This expanded support is helping to ensure businesses can continue this vital employment and training role through the economic downturn.”

While uncertainty surrounds the COVID-19 pandemic and its impacts, Mr Whitty said there were positive signs for the business’ future.

“We are quoting a lot of work,” he said.

“There is quite a lot of interstate projects and there is actually some international projects we are quoting as well.

“That sort of work with the effect of the coronavirus is probably helping us be in a pretty good position.

“We do not know how it will look form a travelling point of view, but some of these projects might happen in a year’s time or three year’s time.”