A job seeker is calling on the government to even the apprentice playing field to ease the tradie shortage.
Daniel Church is studying a Certificate II in Electrotechnology (Career Start) and wants to work in the electrical industry through a mature-aged apprenticeship.
He said job seekers and employers were frustrated over the apprentice employment conditions.
Mr Church has written a letter to the government, including member for Riverina and new Small Business Minister Michael McCormack, imploring it to address what he sees as “a serious flaw in government policy”.
“On one side, the employer wants to give the best candidate the job,” Mr Church said
“And on the other you’ve got the job seeker who is keen.
“Then there’s this middle barrier of current government policy.”
Mr Church said he didn’t want to discredit junior apprentices.
“There are plenty who want to apply and become great tradespeople,” Mr Church said.
As an employer, RIC Electrics owner/director Bruce Duff said the previous Labor federal government introduced minimum wage rates applied to a person's age.
Before then, the employer could negotiate a deal with the potential apprentice that was acceptable to both apprentice and employer.
Mr Duff said an adult apprentice – defined as being between the age of 21 and 24 years old – would cost his business nearly $30,000 more over the first three years of the apprenticeship compared to the junior apprentice wage of a person who just finished year 12 at school.
He said a person 25 years or older – known as a mature-aged apprentice – is eligible for a one-off payment of $4000 after completion of their first year.
Both men said government assistance would help bridge the financial gap for employers and put more people on the ground, reducing the tradie shortage.
“I would employ (an adult apprentice) tomorrow,” he said.
“But there needs to be assistance to engage and employ adult and mature age workers to address the shortage.”