By Aimee Chanthadavong

Fair Work Commission may have given apprentices a nice pay increase but this has left retailers angered by the decision.

The pay for first year apprentices who have completed year 12 will increase by 30 per cent to $398.50 per week, while second year apprentices will receive an 18 per cent raise.

The Fair Work Commission’s full bench said the increases will be an incentive for young people to take on and complete an apprenticeship.

“The Full Bench considered that increased rates may assist to improve the attractiveness of apprenticeships compared to other training or employment options for young people,” it said in a statement.

“Only about half of all apprentices complete their apprenticeship and increased wage rates may also assist in improving completion rates.”

However, while an increase is all well and good, Australian Retailers Association executive director Russell Zimmerman said the decision is “unfavourable” and could potentially leave apprentices worse off.

“For years, retailers have been employing younger people to teach them the skills they require,” he said.

“But by bringing 20-year-olds up to receive the full adult rate, retailers, particularly in the regional areas, would look at employing adults instead of apprentices because they’ll be able to hire people with more skills at the same rate.”

Fair Work Australia is also pushing for the decision to also include 18- and 19-year-old apprentices.

 “It would be detrimental if this decision was moved all the way down to include 18-year-olds, particularly in the regional areas,” Zimmerman said.