Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and Employment Minister Michaelia Cash visited Brisbane’s Print Approach yesterday to congratulate owners Tom and Luke Eckersley for their commitment to the PaTH youth employment scheme.
The Government’s $750 million PaTH (Prepare,Trial, Hire) program came under fire last year after creating just 200 jobs in its first four months, but Cash says 16,000 young people have now been hired “as a result of the government’s investment in youth unemployment.”
Print Approach, part of Eckersley Group, took on two interns - Jarrod Coombe and Jon Garrett - under the scheme last year and recently employed both as fulltime apprentices.
“Jarrod and Jon, two young men that really didn’t have much of an insight into what the printing industry was all about, were exposed to our business through the PaTH program,” says MD Tom Eckersley. “Both came in and worked within our environment for a period of time and liked what they saw and liked the people they were working with, and we had an opportunity to test that from our point of view as well. At the end of the day, the pathway forward led to both of them recently starting apprenticeships with us.
“One of them had really good IT application and has joined our pre-press team as a graphic repro and is obviously using his computer skills in that space, and the second has joined our bindery and finishing department.”
Turnbull praised the company for its adoption of the scheme. “Your family company, founded by your Dad in 1971, it is an example of the businesses that are investing and employing and driving the big growth in jobs in Australia we have seen in the last year," said the Prime Minister.
"We’ve just met Jarrod and Jon, two young guys in their early 20s who are now starting as apprentices. The PaTH program is giving opportunities for young people who have been struggling to get started in the workforce the opportunity of an internship and then go on to fulltime work.”
Under the scheme, employers can trial people between the ages of 17-24 in an internship for 4 to 12 weeks. All employers who host an intern receive an upfront payment of $1000 and up to $10,000 if they hire the intern.
Printing Industries CEO Andrew Macaulay says more print training opportunities need to be available to school leavers.
“We have been working closely with Employment Minister Michaelia Cash’s office to ensure there’s a greater understanding of the printing sector and we will continue that process. The PaTH program will suit some printers and not others, that’s the feedback we’re getting from our members, but we’re encouraging all members to take a look at it. The PIAA will continue to pursue the government for more incentives to employ unskilled labour for training, especially initiatives that focus on employing and training school leavers.”