Murray Bridge businesswomen consider employing apprentices

Melanie Mazurek and Tony Sacca from Skilling South Australia chat with Liz OHara and Jane Carnegie at the Bridgeport Hotel. Photo: Carolyn Jeffrey.
Melanie Mazurek and Tony Sacca from Skilling South Australia chat with Liz OHara and Jane Carnegie at the Bridgeport Hotel. Photo: Carolyn Jeffrey.

Employing an apprentice or trainee is far more flexible than it used to be.

This was the message from Skilling South Australia when representatives addressed a recent Murray Bridge lunch for the Women in Business Regional Network.

Project officer Melanie Mazurek explained that apprenticeships, traineeships and skilling were no longer a rigid three or four year commitment; and that there were plenty of opportunities to tap into financial incentives and support, particularly in regional areas.

Options discussed included part-time trainees, traineeships for existing staff, school-based apprentices and group trainee schemes where small businesses could share the employment responsibilities with others.

Ms Mazurek said the government was committed to creating 20,800 apprenticeships and traineeships in South Australia over the next few years and had changed the way employers accessed information.

Among the changes was the need for employers of apprentices and trainees to be registered and screened by the Department of Innovation and Skills prior to engaging an employee.

A 1800 number had been set up and businesses were urged to call 1800 673 097 if they had queries about upskilling, apprenticeships and traineeships, or to visit skills.sa.gov.au.

"Last financial year retail, wine operations and engineering were the top three apprenticeships or traineeships commenced in the Murray and Mallee region," Ms Mazurek said.

"Just over 34 per cent of apprentices and trainees that commenced last financial year in the Murray and Mallee region were female.

"This is higher than any other regional area in South Australia."

She said this had been an ongoing trend for the past four years.

She also gave details about a training project underway at Monarto Zoo, focusing on construction in a joint initiative between Skilling SA and Zoos SA.

Network founder Carolyn Jeffrey said a recent survey of members and followers had revealed a surprisingly high number of businesswomen were considering employing an apprentice or trainee in the next 18 months.

"The final results of the survey are still being calculated, but initial results indicate potential for at least 70 new jobs across the state in regional areas just from within our followers," she said.

"Our partnership with the Department of Innovation and Skills is exciting as it will provide the women with the opportunity to not only learn about what's available with regards to support and flexibility for employing apprentices and trainees, but to also provide feedback to those within the department at the decision-making level."

The Women in Business Regional Network is open to business owners, managers, staff and those dreaming of owning their own business.

The network will return to the Swanport Hotel in Murray Bridge on October 21 when the topic will be how to get noticed on Google even if you don't have a website.