Queensland’s Minister for Education, Training and Employment, The Honourable John-Paul Langbroek announced the $36 million Queensland Apprenticeship Pledge designed to create a skilled workforce in the State.

The Queensland Apprenticeship Pledge is an innovative scheme that will pay employers up to $6,000 for each additional apprentice taken on this financial year, enabling more opportunities for school leavers and people looking for new skills or a career change.

Minister for Education, Training and Employment John-Paul Langbroek described the $36 million Queensland Apprenticeship Pledge as an investment in the state’s future, while also taking the government a step closer to delivering on its election promise to create 10,000 new apprenticeships by 2018.

The Can-Do LNP Government had committed $86 million during the election to create an extra 10,000 apprenticeships by 2018.

Launching the Apprenticeship Pledge at the South Brisbane headquarters and training facility of Queensland entrepreneur and employer Stefan Ackerie, Mr Langbroek and Assistant Minister for Technical and Further Education Saxon Rice encouraged businesses, large and small, to be part of the initiative.

Urging employers to accept the challenge and make the pledge since a thriving economy needed a skilled workforce, Ms Rice added that the new program presented a fantastic opportunity for industry to invest in providing Queenslanders with the skills they need for increased employment opportunities.

Mr Langbroek said the Pledge also provided an incentive for businesses that hadn’t previously employed an apprentice to initiate apprenticeships at their establishments.

According to Ms Rice, the initiative will benefit the resources, tourism, construction and agriculture industries, the four pillars of the state’s economy, as they are all significant employers of apprentices. She explained that the Government has set a target of 6,000 new apprentices to be taken on this financial year under the Queensland Apprenticeship Pledge, over and above normal recruitment and retention practices.

Encouraging businesses to sign the Apprenticeship Pledge, Ms Rice said they can take advantage of the bonus by employing additional apprentices.

Mr Ackerie, a major employer of apprentices in Queensland with around 200 from a total of 540 staff, said he was proud to take up the Pledge.

As one of Queensland’s most significant employers of new apprentices, Mr Ackerie rates the employment, education and training of thousands of people as one of his proudest contributions to Australia over 50 years in business.