Recent press has highlighted some injustices being felt by Australian Apprentices in Queensland and around the nation. It has come to light that some employers are taking advantage of a loophole in current legislation which allows them to pay apprentices in Queensland at a rate at least $90 below the poverty line.
MIGAS is and always has been committed to ensuring the best and fairest working conditions for our apprentices and trainees. We acknowledge work still needs to be done however and call on the State and Federal Governments to improve conditions for our future tradespeople.
It’s important that businesses are aware of the risks involved in failing to provide adequate support and sufficient remuneration to apprentices and trainees. We’ve said it before, and we’ll say it again; the costs involved in hosting or employing apprentices shouldn’t be as important as ensuring the proprietors of Australia’s trade industry future are given a fair head start in the industry.
This begins with closing the legislative loophole, which as it currently stands, means that many apprentices are being paid under State awards, instead of the federal Modern Awards introduced in 2010. All MIGAS employees are paid under Modern Awards as a minimum, which means they might cost a little more, but also means the quality of life available to our employees is higher as well. This is supported by a tried and tested mentoring system and a commitment to comprehensive workplace health and safety practices that aims to secure the highest level of working conditions for our employees.
With falling completion numbers, and a looming skills shortage, it’s imperative that unions, businesses, employers, and governments work together to improve conditions for apprentices and trainees and secure the future of Australia’s industry.