Up to 100 apprentices in Dubbo will trial the NSW Liberal and Nationals Government’s $250 Regional Apprentice and University Student Travel Card, boosting their budgets to help ease the cost of travel to education and training.
Deputy Premier and Minister for Regional NSW Paul Toole said Dubbo apprentices would be the first to access the pre-paid debit card, ahead of the full launch of the scheme next month.
“This card will put $250 in the pocket of thousands of people in the regions to help them with the cost of travel in gaining a qualification – from apprentice chefs and chippies to those studying to be teachers,” Mr Toole said.
“That’s a $250 boost towards filling up the tank or catching transport to get to work, pracs, TAFE or uni.
“We’ve seen how much of a difference the one million Regional Seniors Travel Cards we’ve distributed in the past three years have made to the every day lives of seniors – and this will help a whole other generation working towards their future career.”
Minister for Regional Transport and Roads Sam Farraway said the Dubbo trial will help fine-tune the card application process in preparation for its release to apprentices and trainees across regional NSW next month and then to university students from late April.
“This is a brand new card, it’s an important initiative and we want to get the process right and ensure apprentices and uni students have an extra $250 in their pockets with no hassles,” Mr Farraway said.
“Parents and partners can also use this card. If you drive your kid or your loved one to tafe, uni, training or work, encourage them to apply for a card to help you with the cost of fuel.
“The cost of getting to work shouldn’t be a barrier for people who are working to secure a brighter future for themselves – that’s why the NSW Liberal and Nationals Government is rolling out this card.”
Minister for Western NSW and Member for Dubbo Dugald Saunders said he fought for the card to be trialled in Dubbo to give apprentices in the region a helping hand.
“I’m really excited that 100 local apprentices will get $250 extra towards transport from today,” Mr Saunders said.
“As soon as we announced this initiative, I had multiple apprentices and students eagerly contact my office asking when applications open, so I went straight to the Minister to ask for the trial to start here.
“Tradies are the backbone of Dubbo and regional NSW, so it’s important we support them as much as we can, especially when they’re apprentices and just starting to find their feet.”
Luke Prentice, who is a mature aged apprentice electrician said he welcomed the card as it would help with his family’s budget.
“My wife and I have a young son and have just bought a house in Dubbo and with interest rates rising, any help with our costs is much appreciated,” Mr Prentice said.
“I will use the card mainly for fuel for my vehicle. Having moved to Dubbo from London, where I didn’t even need a car, I am well aware of the greater distances in regional NSW we face to get to work and training.”
Another trial participant, Jayden Gash said the extra $250 would help him cover the costs of travel for his training.
“As an apprentice refrigeration mechanic, I have to travel from Dubbo to Bathurst once or twice a month to attend TAFE and the new travel card to pay for fuel is much appreciated,” Mr Gash said.