Industry giant’s helping hand to struggling tradies

A GLADSTONE industry giant is throwing a lifeline to struggling apprentices who have had their training cut short by the impact of the COVID-19 health crisis.

Gladstone Ports Corporation will be taking a diesel fitter and an electrical apprentice on board over the next few weeks at the RG Tanna Coal Terminal (RGTCT).

GPC pledged to cover all training costs as well as provide tuition, protective clothing and tool allowance.

Data from not-for-profit group, Apprentices and Trainees Queensland (ATQLD), shows apprentice numbers have dropped by 45 per cent in the past seven years.

ATQLD CEO Michael Walz said the displaced apprentices were half way through their training but some employers in regional Queensland had difficulty filling roles.

"We had two local apprentices who were unable to find training due to the combined negative impact of COVID-19 and a downward trend of businesses employing apprentices," Mr Walz said.

"GPC is one of the largest employers of apprentice and trainees in Queensland and these apprentices will now be able to finish their training, work and live in Gladstone and more importantly help build our local.

There will be more apprentices joining the GPC family next year after applications for its well-sought after program closed earlier this year.

GPC acting CEO Craig Walker said apprentices were an integral part of the region's workforce and a key part in helping Queensland's economy recover.

"This year has been difficult for everyone including apprentices who are vital to our future workforce and we're pleased we can take them under our wing here at GPC and ensure they will have quality training," Mr Walker said.

"We're committed to producing safe, productive and quality tradespeople for the future."

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