GOVERNMENT cuts to funding for apprenticeship and training program will put further pressure on the manufacturing industry as they fight to retain employees from the lure of the booming mining industry.
The cuts will have a detrimental effect on the skilled labour industry, according to the Australian Manufacturing Workers Union (AMWU).
AMWU State Secretary Rohan Webb said that with demand for skilled labour in the mining sector still strong, Government needed to retain a commitment to training.
“We have serious issues in manufacturing, because some of the big mining companies prefer to take on skilled workers rather than train them themselves.
“That means we have a lot of young guys come through apprenticeships with small manufacturing companies, only to disappear up to lucrative roles in the mines when they qualify.
Education, Training and Employment Minister John-Paul Langbroek said cuts to Skilling Queenslanders for Work would total $19 million with 144 jobs lost.
Mount Isa businesses regularly employing apprentices were concerned about the loss of government incentives for training.
Jakeman Constructions managing director Bob Jakeman said the government incentive program for apprentices was vital for his business.
“If the funding was cut for the program, I would definitely have to have another look at taking on apprentices,” he said.
“The financial assistance works out to nearly $10,000 over the apprenticeship and that helps out a lot especially with Tafe fees and the rest.”
Mr Jakeman contended with companies such as Xstrata who had established training programs for yearly apprentice intakes in the mining town.
“It is always a bit of a worry when you take on an apprentice that they will leave for the mine,” he said.
Ashley King, 19, a fourth-year apprentice with Jakeman Constructions said it was financially difficult to undertake an apprenticeship and was concerned the government may add extra pressure.
“It’s hard enough as it is and for them to cut funding would be a shame,” he said.
If the lures of large-scale training programs from mining companies win out, Mr King would be disappointed.
“I don’t think I would learn as much through those programs than I would here with a small business,” he said.
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