TWO ‘great young fellas’ were among more than 400 new apprentices taken on in the region in the summer – a huge spike over last year’s figure.
Jay Crisp, 17, of Evans River, and Cameron Dempsey, 16, of Kyogle, were hired by Brown and Hurley, ‘the truck people’ in Kyogle.
They will undertake training in spray painting and diesel mechanics respectively, and were making a success of things so far, according to service manager Mick Dare.
The number of people starting apprenticeships in the traditional trades had plummeted by around 20 per cent over the past year, said Parliamentary Secretary for Employment Jason Clare last week.
It was one reason behind the Rudd Government’s creating the Kickstart Bonus Scheme.
Employers in the Richmond-Tweed and Clarence Valley region took on 338 apprentices in 2007/08. This sank to 238 at the height of the GFC in 2008/09, but boosted by the Kickstart Bonus, this summer’s figure was 415.
“That’s a terrific effort, and I want to pay tribute to the local businesses who’ve hired a teenage apprentice this summer,” Mr Clare said.
The Kickstart scheme more than tripled the first-year bonus paid to employers who took on trades apprentices over the summer.
Local MP Janelle Saffin congratulated everyone involved.
“Our community needed more young apprentices starting,” Ms Saffin said.
“We’ve boosted the number of local apprenticeships started over summer to above what they were before the global recession.
“It is a wonderful result for our local community.”
“I want to congratulate all the businesses that made it a success and The Northern Star and The Daily Examiner for making sure everyone knew about this important program,” Ms Saffin said.