The Federal Government announced in October’s budget that there would be stimulus to help Australian businesses hire up to 100,000 new apprentices, subsidised up to $28,000 each, in addition to existing apprentice wage subsidies.
However, presently the pool and spa industry does not have specific apprenticeships to take advantages of this stimulus. Poolwerx CEO John O’Brien wants the government to recognise the specific skillset of pool industry technicians by creating a dedicated apprenticeship.
He says that finding and retaining technical staff is a key issue for retailers, and he believes if there was a nationally recognised pool technician apprenticeship that his franchise partners would take on an apprentice, as would many other retailers.
“An apprenticeship that specialises in the pool and spa aftermarket would enable pool owners to engage one provider for all pool services – plumbers and electricians wouldn’t need to be booked, our technicians would be qualified experts across all trades,” he says.
“Ideally the training would also formalise qualifications on installation, maintenance and repairs for pumps, filters, chlorinators, heaters, robotic cleaners, solar systems and mechanised pool blankets.”
He adds that apprenticeships in pool construction should be another major consideration.
“Our industry has reached a point where the technological complexity around the backyard pool and spa is so advanced that we are well overdue to introduce a national pool technician apprenticeship program. We are well past the days when a new hire is given a set of car keys, an address and a pool pole.
“It is the next logical extension and build from our current Certificate III and IV programs.”