The Australian Retailers Association (ARA) and its skills arm, the ARA Retail Institute, today welcomed the Federal Government’s new $ 1 billion JobTrainer scheme and the extension of an apprentice wage subsidy, highlighting the importance of including the retail sector as one of the key sectors in focus.
ARA CEO Paul Zahra said retail is Australia’s largest private employer, and many Australians get their first job in retail.
“We applaud JobTrainer as a well-timed and well-considered Government-led initiative. COVID-19 has accelerated the need for retailers to enhance the skills of their staff and adapt to a new way of doing business. Including the retail sector in this package will help support the jobs of today and also tomorrow by helping Australians gain the skills needed to ensure the future and longevity of the retail sector.
“The retail industry needs skills to fill critical roles in modern retailing, and we hope this will ensure retailers with urgent training needs can find talent in a simpler, more cost-effective way.
“The current government support measures have had a significant impact on helping retailer employers retain their staff and on stimulating the economy. We remain concerned about the potential fiscal cliff come September when JobKeeper and JobSeeker are scheduled to conclude – coming at a time that is the most critical financial period for retailers in the build up to Christmas.
“We also need a permanent and adequate increase that ensures people on JobSeeker, Youth Allowance and other income support payments can cover the basic essentials.
“Without an extension of JobKeeper for high need businesses and a sustainable approach to those on unemployment benefits, we have grave concerns for the economic wellbeing of businesses and employees.
“Young people and women are amongst the most vulnerable community members impacted by the pandemic. Women account for 56.3 per cent of all retail employees, and 30.8 percent of all retail staff are aged between 15 and 24 years. We are eager to ensure younger or female employees in the retail industry are not left behind, and we see the JobTrainer initiative as a very positive step towards protecting their future,” he said.
Mr Zahra said the ARA stands ready to support the initiative through its training arm, the ARA Retail Institute’s Retail Ready Jobs and Traineeships programs, which helps young Australians entering the sector with training and traineeship opportunities within the industry.
“We look forward to working with the government to provide Australians with skills and apprenticeship opportunities needed to support the retail industry and boost employment,” said Mr Zahra.
The ARA Retail Institute is Australia’s leading retail training provider for both accredited and non-accredited learning programs. The ARA Retail Institute is a Government Registered Training Organisation (RTO) making it fully qualified to offer retail education programs to ARA members and broader retail industry.
ENDS…for more details: Tim Janczuk (m) 0431 045 373 (e) firstname.lastname@example.org
About us: founded in 1903, the Australian Retailers Association is Australia’s largest retail association, representing a $325bn sector employing more than 1.3m people. As Australia’s premier retail body, the ARA works to ensure retail success by informing, protecting, advocating, educating and saving money for its 7,500 independent and national retail members. To learn more, visit www.retail.org.au or call 1300 368 041.