COVID-19 update – Apprentices and Trainees in Safe Hands
MIGAS is vigilant in monitoring Government advice and restrictions that help to reduce the impact of COVID-19 in Australia.
The events of the past few weeks are unprecedented and things are continuing to evolve quickly. Like almost every business in Australia, we have adjusted and adapted to operate in a very different landscape for the foreseeable future.
Open for business and getting on with the job
Over the past two months, the MIGAS team has implemented a range of COVID-19 readiness tactics. These have been put in place by working with our host employers, apprentices and trainees through our Field Officer network.
In this way, we’ve been able to understand our host employers' approach to the pandemic and interface the “MIGAS way” with their own workforce planning.
Host supervisors and apprentices are regular contact with the MIGAS Field Team for support, and can also access our COVID-19 Response Team via 1300 464 427.
Apprentice health and wellbeing
MIGAS is continuing to deliver services and support to our national apprentices and trainee cohort. Our robust and flexible IT framework has enabled us to transition seamlessly into a virtual team state with direct contact via video-conferencing, phone and instant messaging occurring daily.
The most important message to our apprentice and trainees is to play their role in reducing their risk of contracting or transmitting COVID-19, particularly to those in the high-risk health category.
As such, the MIGAS Field Team are in high-frequency contact with their apprentices and trainees to monitor the following:
- Tested positive for COVID-19 or are awaiting results from this test
- Experiencing a fever, flu-like symptoms or shortness of breath
- Have had direct contact with any person with a suspected or confirmed case of COVID-19
- Have had close contact with any person within the last 14 days experiencing fever, flu-like symptoms or shortness of breath who has also returned to Australia from any recent international travel
- Have personally returned to Australia from any international travel (either personal or business) within the last 14 days
- If, for the above or any other reason, have been advised by health or government officials to adhere to self-isolation requirements (such as staying at home for a set period)
Workplace health and safety
At MIGAS the physical and mental health of our workforce is the highest priority.
It is essential to adhere to the social distancing and personal hygiene guidelines issued by the Australian Government and medical experts.
We’re reminding our apprentices and trainees to “Do the Five”:
- Wash your hands regularly with soap and water for at least 20 seconds
- Avoid touching your face
- Cough and/or sneeze into your elbow or use a tissue and throw it in the bin immediately after
- Observe social distancing advice and stay at least 1.5m from others
- If you are sick, stay home and do not go to work
Support for host employers
The Commonwealth Government has announced broad-reaching stimulus packages with a particular focus on assisting small business and the unemployed through this difficult period.
As part of its Economic Response to the Coronavirus, the Australian Government is supporting business to manage cash flow challenges and to keep apprentices and trainees employed through a new Supporting Apprentices and Trainees.
From 2 April 2020 employers can begin registering to receive a 50 percent subsidy for wages paid to apprentices between January to March this year.
Wage subsidies will be available to small businesses, including those using a Group Training Organisation, to help retain existing apprentices and trainees.
Employers of any size who re-engage an apprentice or trainee that has been displaced from a small business may also attract a wage subsidy.
The apprentice or trainee must have been in-training with a small business as of 1 March 2020.
Subsidies will cover wages paid from 1 January 2020 to 30 September 2020. Businesses will be reimbursed up to $7,000 per quarter, up to a maximum of $21,000, per eligible apprentice or trainee.
Final claims for payment must be lodged by 31 December 2020.
For eligibility requirements and fact sheets on each of the Government’s financial support initiatives visit: https://treasury.gov.au/coronavirus/businesses.
Business as usual in unusual times
MIGAS is a significant GTO operating within the Australian apprenticeship sector for more than 30 years.
As an organisation that is united in our passion for supporting people in trades, we have weathered many storms in our history, although none quite like this global health pandemic.
Our absolute focus is on supporting our host employers, apprentices and trainees to stay healthy and “on the tools” during this trying time.
So, while our offices may be hushed and powered down, for now, our national team is working as hard as ever to be there when you need us.
Chief Executive Officer