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The  Prime Minister, Scott Morrison, today announced a $1.2 billion funding boost to the government's wage subsidy scheme for apprentices extending the program for another 12 months.

The extension, which is expected to generate some 70,000 new apprentice and trainee places, is part of government plans to roll out targeted assistance for the post-JobKeeper economy.

The Boosting Apprenticeship Commencements wage subsidy program will assist apprentices and trainees who are signed up before 30 September, 2021.

The program was first announced last year with the government providing a subsidy that covered 50 per cent of wages paid to an apprentice. The cost of the first stage was also $1.2 billion.

The extension will now be demand-driven and employers will be eligible to receive up to $7000 a quarter to hire or keep on an apprentice.

Speaking at a business summit in Sydney today, the Prime Minister said about one-fifth of new apprentices recruited under the scheme were over 35 years of age.

“At the outset of the pandemic, we made keeping apprentices in their jobs one of our first priorities,” he said.

The Prime Minister detailed how 40 per cent of the new apprentices and trainees have gone to small businesses, with the largest take up in the construction, food and beverage, administrative, and repair and maintenance sectors.

The scheme has been most popular in the construction sector in NSW, with 4603 businesses taking on 6477 new tradies.

“These apprentices would likely have been the first to go. Such a loss would have been devastating for our economy as years of training would have been lost and, I suspect, never recovered,” Morrison said.

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