BACKING BUSINESSES: Senator Pauline Hanson wants to see more apprentices in work in the new year around CQ.
BACKING BUSINESSES: Senator Pauline Hanson wants to see more apprentices in work in the new year around CQ. Allan Reinikka ROK080318ahanson1

Pauline Hanson takes credit for Liberal 'apprentice bonanza'

WITH people getting back into the swing of work, One Nation leader Pauline Hanson is raising awareness about a plan to bolster apprentice numbers in CQ.

Coming into effect on January 1, the Coalition Government's $60 million Regional Apprenticeship Program was announced in November by Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack and jobs minister Michaelia Cash, to provide support to businesses in rural and regional areas of Australia to take on 1630 new apprenticeships.

Senator Hanson said One Nation Party provided the inspiration for the pilot Apprenticeship Wage Subsidy Scheme given that she had pushed for a pilot program for "20-odd years" to encourage businesses to hire Australian workers over foreign workers on 457 visas.

"I first approached Scott Morrison when he was treasurer about this program and it was only through my persistent talks with the Government that Mathias Cormann agreed to this three-year pilot," Senator Hanson said.

The scheme would encourage employers hiring a new worker to undertake an apprenticeship by providing a generous 75 per cent wage subsidy during their first year's employment, followed by 50 per cent of their second year's wage and 25 per cent of third year wages.

Only workers studying occupations on the National Skills Needs List - including baker, bricklayer, hairdresser, landscape gardener, electrician, carpenter, mechanic and shearer - full-time at certification III and IV levels would be eligible.

"Australia has seen a significant drop in young people taking up apprenticeships and over time it has led to a boom in skilled migrants filling Australian jobs," Senator Hanson said.

"I hear it all too often, businesses saying they would love to hire an apprentice, but the cost to do so is difficult in the current economic environment.

"This scheme removes the cost hurdle and will serve a benefit to both the employer and worker."

Senator Hanson said Rockhampton and Yeppoon businesses should snap this offer up ahead of the next mining and infrastructure boom to ensure they have the tradespeople to cope with the upturn in work the region will face.