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Cost-of-living support for apprentices expanded

It’s a very happy new year indeed for apprentices and trainees in Australia, with the expansion of the Australian Apprenticeship Support Loans scheme (formerly known as the Trade Support Loan).

So, what exactly does this mean? With the expansion of eligibility to non-trade occupations, more individuals can now apply for an interest-free loan of up to $24,492 to help with cost-of-living expenses over the course of their apprenticeship or traineeship. Not a bad way to kick off 2024!

For the first time, these loans will be available to apprentices and trainees in non-trade occupations facing significant skills shortages, such as early childhood education, aged care and disability care. This means that around 38,000 apprentices and trainees across 60 in-demand occupations are now eligible for financial assistance under the program.

Minister for Skills and Training, Hon Brendan O’Connor said, “With critical skills shortages in sectors like early childhood education, aged care and disability care, it’s never been more important to support priority apprentices and trainees to complete their studies.”

To further encourage apprentices and trainees to complete their training, eligible applicants will receive a further 20% discount on their total loans after achieving their qualification.

It is hoped extending these loans will help ease cost of living pressures, lift apprenticeship completion rates, increase diversity among the apprentice workforce and help ease Australia’s critical skill shortages.

BUSY At Work, one of the largest Australian Apprenticeship Services Network (AASN) providers, is pleased to see the expansion of the loan scheme. This development aligns with our ongoing efforts to partner with industry and employers to support jobseekers through an apprenticeship or traineeship pathway.

General Manager of AASN, Cassandra Horan, agrees. “This is fantastic news for the apprenticeship community,” she said.

“Not only will it help address the current skills shortage these industries are facing, but it will also assist those apprentices and trainees who need financial support in the early years of their apprenticeship when their wages are lowest.

“It is particularly great to see how the extension of these loans will benefit women both in trade and non-trade careers. I am proud to be part of a community that is providing more women with greater opportunities to succeed in their careers.”

Find out more about the expansion of the Australian Apprenticeship Support Loans scheme:

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