Australian Rules Football legend Kevin Sheedy has joined Government and industry heavyweights in the launch of the Federal Government’s Kickstart program, which aims to encourage employers to sign up over 21,000 apprentices by the end of February. The program triples the incentive paid in the first year to small and medium business owners who take on a new apprentice.

Head coach of the Greater Western Sydney Giants and former plumber, Kevin Sheedy, said the $57.5 million initiative would be crucial to helping keen, young apprentices find jobs.

"If you want to be an apprentice in the construction industry why don't you take this as an opportunity to talk to employers in your local area," Mr Sheedy said.

'Taking on an apprentice or a trainee allows you to train your future workforce to your standards, how you want the job done. And that's got to be good for business."

Chief Executive Officer of the Master Builders Australia, Wilhelm Harnisch, said the measure came at a good time with the end of the school year.

"This initiative will help give jobs to a new generation of building workers and shows that the government puts a high value on the building and construction sector," Mr Harnish said.

Housing Industry Association's Senior Executive Director for Business Compliance and Contracting, David Humphrey, said the initiative improved the outlook for the sector.

"With projections showing that the industry is set to grow, this initiative will provide a good tipping point - to encourage employers to take on apprentices sooner rather than later," Mr Humphrey said.

Minister for Skills, Senator Chris Evans, said there were 500 applications from potential apprentices within the first two weeks of the program opening.

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