'Can't afford it': Gladstone tradies in struggle for work
HIS Tafe block is supposed to start on June 9 but second-year fitter and mechanist apprentice Daniel Burton still doesn't know if he will be able to go.
Daniel has recently been let go by RCR Engineering and if he does not find another host before June 9 he will have to postpone his Tafe courses.
His story is all too familiar for aspiring tradespeople as more than 100 wait for hosts before they can start an apprenticeship with Gladstone Area Group Apprentices Limited.
Daniel isn't afraid of hard work. He has been a cabinet maker in Bundaberg and a trades assistant in mines all over Queensland.
Once work dried up he moved here, where RCR Engineering took him on.
"But in the downturn they signed us on to GAGAL so (it) could keep me on if (RCR) had to close their doors," he said.
He was one of a handful of apprentices to meet minister Sharon Bird and Labor candidate for Flynn Zac Beers yesterday.
Ms Bird criticised the government for cutting $1 billion from the Tools for Your Trade program and access and mentoring.
None of the apprentices there used the program in which the government gave apprentices money for tools because GAGAL bought them.
Mr Beers said there were 909 fewer apprentices in Flynn this year as a result of the downturn.
"Businesses adopt the view we can't afford it but when the boom comes around they go 'we don't have enough trained people lets get 457 visa workers'," he said.
If young people could not get hosts, they would leave Gladstone for somewhere that wwould train them, GAGAL chief executive Leigh Zimmerlie said.
What does she want? The mum and dad businesses to take on apprentices that will serve them into the future.