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New $24.5M support package for WA construction industry

More than 500 construction sites around Australia are flying the flag of mental health and suicide prevention as part of the annual MATES in Construction ‘Fly the Flag Day’, in partnership with R U OK?

The Western Australian Government will support the construction industry with a $24.5 million support package to help maintain a skilled workforce during the COVID-19 pandemic.

As part of the package, $10 million will go towards a one-off, $2000 payment to employees to maintain existing apprentices currently receiving Construction Training Fund (CTF) grant payments.

A new grants scheme worth $9.5 million will also be introduced to assist employers to retain their existing apprentices. The payments will range from $250 a month to $500 per month per apprentice or trainee, depending on the trades that are facing the most skills shortages.

In addition, $5 million will be spent to support more than 5000 building and construction apprentices and trainees to complete short training courses.

WA Premier Mark McGowan said the construction industry plays an important role in Western Australia and employs thousands of people across a range of trades.

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“It’s important we look after our local businesses, apprentices and trainees – this funding will go towards making sure jobs are maintained and our construction workforce is ready to assist with the post COVID-19 economic recovery.”

Payments will be beginning from 1 June 2020, backdated from April 1, 2020.

The package aims to supplement CTF’s existing grants scheme for six month, with a review after three months to gauge the effectiveness of the temporary model.

Employers currently receiving CTF grants for apprentices and trainees in employment will be eligible for the new grant scheme and will need to provide evidence of the apprentice’s employment, such as a current payslip.

Apprentices and trainees employed in the industry can claim up to $1,000 to support the costs of undertaking short courses to assist them in upskilling.

WA Training Minister Sue Ellery said the support package will help keep apprentices an trainees in jobs.

“If you’re an apprentice in the construction industry looking to upskill – now is the time to take the opportunity to claim back up to $1,000 when you undertake a short course.”

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