• The government can help businesses retain apprentices.
    The government can help businesses retain apprentices.

Packaging companies will be able to claim half their apprentices' wages until at least March under the latest $2.5bn Covid stimulus package from the federal government, with its new JobTrainer programme.

This time around the scheme is applicable to all companies with up to 200 staff; the previous iteration had a capped limit of businesses with 20 employees.

Andrew Macaulay, CEO of the Print & Visual Communication Association said he was delighted with the outcome.

"Regardless of Covid, the PVCA has had a long-term policy position that apprentices need to be focused and funded,” he said.

PVCA president Walter Kuhn and the AMWU have together been in discussion with government over the past few weeks over the new scheme.

The latest stimulus package is designed to help young people get into meaningful careers, as the youth demographic becomes hardest hit by the impact of the virus on employment.

The latest package is not across the board, but does include apprentices in manufacturing, which includes packaging and print. Prime Minister Scott Morrison revealed that $1.5bn of investment is to subsidise the wages of apprentices in small and medium sized business.

The new deal is in addition to the first stimulus package, that has seen the government paying 50 per cent of apprentices wages up to $7000 a quarter. The new deal will see the government cover half the pay pf up to 180,000 apprentices, up to $530 a week until next March.

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