The Richmond, Tweed and Clarence Valley region has employed more than 400 apprentices over the summer, Parliamentary Secretary for Employment Jason Clare announced yesterday.

“The latest figures are in – and we’ve given more than 400 local apprentices here a start,” Mr Clare said.

“That’s a terrific effort, and I want to pay tribute to the local businesses who’ve hired a teenage apprentice this summer.

“We know that the number of people starting apprenticeships in the traditional trades has plummeted by around 20 per cent over the past year.

“That’s why the Rudd Government developed Apprentice Kickstart which more than tripled the first-year bonus paid to employers who take on traditional trades apprentices over the summer.

“And it has delivered for this region.”

Page MP Janelle Saffin congratulated everyone involved.

Ms Saffin said the number of local apprenticeships started over summer dropped from 338 in 2008 to 228 in 2009.
 
“Our community needed more young apprentices starting. Thanks to Apprentice Kickstart and the efforts of local employers, we’ve boosted the number of local apprenticeships started over summer to above what they were before the global recession,” Ms Saffin said.

Ms Saffin paid tribute to the local community for getting behind the campaign for more apprentices in the region.