The Australian government will fund apprenticeships for young workers in an attempt to stop them from becoming unemployed, Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced on Tuesday.
He said that the government would spend at least A$1.2 billion ($917 million) over the next year subsidizing part of the wages for 70,000 new apprentices, reports Xinhua news agency.
It is an expansion of an apprenticeship wage subsidy scheme for 100,000 apprentices introduced in October 2020 to stem widespread job losses among young Australians during the coronavirus-triggered economic crisis.
According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS), the number of employed Australians in their 20s was down 2.5 per cent in February 2021 compared to February 2020.
“Creating jobs, generating economic opportunities and boosting the skills of workers right across Australia are at the heart of our National Economic Recovery Plan, as we build back from the Covid-19 recession,” said Morrison.
“Last week’s National Accounts showed the comeback of the Australian economy is underway, however many businesses still need support and it’s important our apprentices and trainees get opportunities to boost their skills and stay employed.”
Powerful business groups have previously called on the federal government to increase incentives for employing young Australians.
“Ignoring the temporary programs responding to the pandemic, the financial incentives for employers have changed little for the past 20 years,” the Australian Industry Group said in a submission for the upcoming federal budget.