Business

Could you live on $225 a week?

Ben Muntelwit has just finished his electrical apprenticeship.
Ben Muntelwit has just finished his electrical apprenticeship. Peter Holt

WOULD you slave away in the hot sun for eight hours a day in return for a measly $225.04 a week?

Many first-year electrical apprentices do and the electrical union says their wages must be boosted to increase apprenticeship completion rates and ease the skills shortage.

Mackay's Ben Muntelwit has just finished his apprenticeship and is looking forward to doubling his $16.50 an hour pay rate.

But he can remember struggling to get by, like many others, at the start of his apprenticeship.

"It's definitely hard the first couple of years you're doing it because you're only making $300 or $400 a week, if that," Mr Muntelwit said.

"If you do live out of home it's pretty hard to live. I lived at Mum and Dad's for the first two and a half years of it and then I moved out.

"I just made do with what I had, I suppose."

The electrical union claimed first-year apprentice wages were below the poverty line and said the high drop-out rate would have dire consequences for the economy.

"It's little wonder that four in 10 apprentices don't complete their training - it's almost impossible for them to survive on the wages they receive," the union's national secretary Peter Tighe said.

"Australia is headed into a multi-decade resources boom and unless we boost wages and apprentice completion rates, there will be a chronic shortfall of skilled electricians."

Mr Muntelwit's employer, CNC Electrical Services owner Charles Kreyts, who pays his two apprentices just above the award wage, supports the call for pay rises.

"Especially if they're performing and they're doing extremely well," he said.

"They're worth their weight in gold and a pay rise."

 

PAY PACKETS

These are the typical wages of electrical apprentices:

  • First year: $225.04 a week ($11,700 a year).
  • Second year: $331.55 a week ($17,240 a year).
  • Third year: $446.32 ($23,000 a year).
  • Fourth year: $552.83 ($28,747 a year).

Topics:  apprentice, cost of living, wages


Stay Connected

Update your news preferences and get the latest news delivered to your inbox.

PHOTOS: Teen attacked by shark on Ballina beach

Multiple people attended the scene at Lighthouse Beach where a shark attack took place around 9:30 on Monday morning. Photo Marc Stapelberg / The Northern Star

Photos from the scene of the attack

It's time to get your shorts on the big screen

ANIMATED: Citizen To Activist, an animation by David Lowe and Eve Jeffrey, won the Jury Award for best Short Film at Flickerfest 2015 - Byron AllShorts.

Entries for Flickerfest 2017 and Byron All Shorts are now open

Burns Point: The blessings of filming a movie in Ballina

DRAMA: Actors Ron Kelly, John McNeill and Brad McMurray on a scene of Burns Point, filmed near Ballina.

Chris Blackburn talks about his feature film Burns Point

Local Partners

Encounters on stage at Lennox Head

BY local mixed-abilities troupe Sprung!! Dance Theatre Inc

It's time to get your shorts on the big screen

ANIMATED: Citizen To Activist, an animation by David Lowe and Eve Jeffrey, won the Jury Award for best Short Film at Flickerfest 2015 - Byron AllShorts.

Entries for Flickerfest 2017 and Byron All Shorts are now open

Burns Point: The blessings of filming a movie in Ballina

DRAMA: Actors Ron Kelly, John McNeill and Brad McMurray on a scene of Burns Point, filmed near Ballina.

Chris Blackburn talks about his feature film Burns Point

MS sufferer pins hopes on Russian stem cell treatment

Barry and Sue Potts are fundraising to pay for her $50,000 treatment for MS.

Couple fundraising for what's hoped will be a life-changing event

Four men have now been charged with drug offences

Up to a kilogram of cocaine and cash has been seized by police in a series of dramatic drug raids across Ballina and Byron Bay.

Four men have been charged with drug offences after arrests

Classic car auction draws buyers from US, Dubai

"He wants everyone to enjoy the cars, the collection got too big'

Emily Blunt's (almost) singing career

Emily Blunt nearly became the British Britney Spears.

Angelina is blocking calls from Brad Pritt

Angelina Jolie has reportedly blocked Brad Pitt's number.

Encounters on stage at Lennox Head

COMING SOON: Dancers Elizabeth Venn and Tess Eckert are part of Encounters, the upcoming performance by SPRUNG!! Integrated Dance Theatre Inc.

By Sprung!! Dance Theatre Inc

Apocalyptica 'seek and destroy' sceptics with 'master' set

Apocalyptica play Max Watts in Brisbane on their Shadowmaker Tour.

Review of final show of Apocalyptica's tour

Rebecca Hall doesn't own a TV

Newspapers, yes. Television, not so much

Jaime King 'terrified' by son's heart surgery

Jamie King was "terrified" when her son went in for heart surgery.

UPDATE: Former rodeo champ's sale rained out, now back on

Larkhill local Ken Consiglio is having an auction of most of the things on his property.

'People kept showing up and we had to turn them away'

Couple build their own 'tiny house' for $45k

Holly Bowen and Oli Bucher built their "tiny house" themselves, only hiring a plumber and an electrician. Photo/supplied

The house, which is built on a trailer and can be towed.

Sunshine Beach property breaks real estate record

The property overlooks Sunshine Beach, as the backyard lawn meets the sand.

Sunshine Beach mansion sale smashes real estate record

SOLD: Historic hotel finds new owner

Post Office Hotel Grafton

Photo Adam Hourigan / The Daily Examiner

Pub in new hands and heading in a brand new direction

Peppers Airlie Beach put on the market

ON THE MARKET: Peppers Airlie Beach is being for recievership sale by CBRE Hotels and PRD Nationwide Airlie Beach.

Peppers Airlie Beach is being offered for sale.

3500 jobs on the way with new $950 million resort

Residential, tourist, community, and open space on Hummock Hill Island.

PROPERTY developers plan to begin construction next year.