Major boost for businesses to take on more mature age apprentices

Posted on January 27, 2021
  • $5.2 million commitment to get 200 additional mature aged apprentices into quality training
  • Commitment to fund the ‘gap’ in total wage costs between mature age and junior apprentices
  • Major incentive for employers to take on apprentices aged 21 or over
  • Continues McGowan Labor Government’s strong investment in TAFE

In a major boost to mature-age apprentices, a re-elected McGowan Labor Government will invest $5.2 million to assist 200 additional Western Australian apprentices above the age of 21.

The commitment will assist businesses across the State to prepare for WA’s pipeline of work available and maximise the job opportunities for mature age apprentices, who are often overlooked by employers due to the higher cost of adult wages.

For example, it costs an employer on average an additional $27,291 to take on a mature age apprentice on a four-year apprenticeship, compared to a junior employee ($12,117 in the first year; $9,728 in the second year; $4,725 in the third year; and $721 in the fourth year).

A re-elected McGowan Labor Government will fund the ‘gap’ in total wage costs between mature age and junior apprentices, providing career pathways for 200 more Western Australians.

A re-elected McGowan Labor Government’s scheme will be complemented by the $3.4 million program announced today, which will focus on mature aged apprentices in the building and construction industry.

WA Labor’s scheme will cover a range of mature aged apprenticeships, like boilermakers, welders, chefs, refrigeration mechanics, hairdressers, cabinet makers and diesel motor vehicles. Both schemes will provide the same level of support for employers seeking to employ mature aged apprentices.

The program will run for a two year intake period, with 100 places in 2021-22, and another 100 in 2022-23. It will apply to both three and four-year apprenticeships. Applications and payment will be made through the Jobs and Skills Employer Incentive and CTF on-line portals.

Comments attributed to Premier Mark McGowan:

“This is a major boost for WA businesses and people aged 21 or over, who we know can find it tough to enter, or re-enter, the workforce.

“Western Australians in their twenties deserve to be able to get quality training, for a quality job.

“There is a pipeline of major projects on the horizon in WA, as we continue our strong recovery from COVID-19. We know demand for skilled workers will continue to increase, and we want to ensure that Western Australians fill these roles.

“There are enormous opportunities for mature age apprentices to undertake vital training, to lay the groundwork for a successful career. A mature age apprenticeship is also a great option for those who wish to change careers or people re-entering the workforce.

“The feedback from industry is that they want to employ mature age appreciates, but there can be financial barriers. A re-elected WA Labor Government will break down those barriers, paving the way for 200 extra mature age apprentices to commence their training.

“My Government has made TAFE a priority, by slashing course fees by up to 72 per cent, and introduced Free Short Courses, after the record increases to TAFE fees introduced by the previous Liberal-National Government.”

Wage gap between adult and junior apprentices:

4-year Apprenticeships1st year2nd year3rd year4th yearTOTAL
Average wage – Junior apprentices$24,374$29,233$34,588$40,660$128,855
Average wage – Adult apprentices$36,491$38,961$39,313$41,381$156,146
3-year Apprenticeships1st year2nd year3rd yearTOTAL 
Average wage – Junior apprentices$24,668$33,637$40,365$98,670 
Average wage – Adult apprentices$38,856$39,978$41,323$120,157 

What the McGowan Labor Government is already delivering:

  •  ‘Lower Fees, Local Skills’ initiative – slashed TAFE fees by up to 72 per cent on 180 courses
  • A record $167.4 million investment in upgrades to TAFE infrastructure across the five Western Australian TAFE colleges, as part of the WA Recovery Plan
  • Introduced free TAFE short courses to upskill thousands of Western Australians
  • $4.8 million for the Apprenticeship and Traineeship Re-engagement Incentive, providing financial support to employers who take on a displaced apprentice or trainee
  • $8.5 million for $20,000 incentives for defence manufacturing industry employers to train apprentices in key trades