The Manitoba government will soon offer a $1,000 bonus incentive to employers that hire apprentices for the first time, CBC News has learned.

The province says it will spend half a million dollars to fund the new apprenticeship incentive, which is in addition to an enhancement to an existing tax credit for employers.

Government officials will unveil plans for the bonus incentive later this week.

The tax credit enhancement was announced in this month's budget and is expected to cost $5 million for 2015 and $8 million annually as more employers take advantage of it.

The new bonus was welcomed by Nina Widmer, Manitoba's first female bricklaying apprentice, who says it will help get more new apprentices hired.

"Have some faith in the new guy and actually, you know, give them a chance," she said.

Her boss at Alpha Masonry, Gus Kotoulas, says taking on a new apprentice is a financial risk, so the new funding announcements will help.

"If the government helps a little bit, whether the guy stays with me or goes to another company, it doesn't affect me as much because I didn't spend as much money on this person," he said.

The province made apprenticeship requirements standard in 2010, calling for a Grade 12 diploma or mandatory enrolment in a skills assessment program.

"Then you're not going to be able to get all these youth — the dropouts from school," Kotoulas said.

But Brian Gebhardt, a masonry instructor at Red River College, says he hasn't had a problem attracting people to the trades.

"The construction activity seems to be strong," Gebhardt said.

"The demand that we've had here in the last five years — we've had consistently larger groups than we've had in the past." 

Budget on apprenticeship tax credits

Manitoba's 2014 budget, which was tabled earlier this month, included enhancements to an existing tax credit for employers that hire apprentices. Read more about those enhancements in the budget document below: