VERTO today welcomed the Federal Government’s announcement of a $1.3 billion investment to protect the jobs of apprentices and trainees as part of a wider $17.6 billion stimulus package.

The announcement comes as the World Health Organisation (WHO) declares coronavirus (COVID-19) a global pandemic.

VERTO Chief Executive Officer, Ron Maxwell, said as an Apprenticeship Network Provider in New South Wales, the organisation is pleased to see that apprentices are a major focus of the stimulus package.

A new subsidy will be made available to employers in a bid to keep 120,000 apprentices in a job. The $1.3 billion scheme will offer small businesses with fewer than 20 full-time workers up to $7,000 in wage assistance for each apprentice per quarter, and will apply for both the retention of existing apprentices and the re-employment of someone who has lost their position as a result of the coronavirus downturn.

The wage subsidy will amount to about 50 per cent of the apprentice’s or trainee’s wage until the end of September 2020, and will be offered to employers if a small business can’t afford to retain employees.

“We welcome the Federal Government’s $1.3 billion stimulus announcement for the apprenticeships sector, which is important in providing stability for employers in an increasing time of uncertainty,” Mr Maxwell said.

“The vocational education and training sector (VET) is an essential part our economy, and I welcome the government’s commitment to help in light of this global crisis.

“This investment will help to reduce youth unemployment, boost our economy and ensure our national skills shortage does not worsen.”