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Rural businesses’ $37k Apprenticeship Wage Incentive Updates Eligibility Requirements

The $60m Australian Apprentice Wage Subsidy, announced in October 2018, targets regional and rural small businesses and provides them with a $37,000 wage subsidy for apprentices. The Australian Government has now released new information on the eligibility requirements.

Businesses will need to hire a new worker in a full time apprenticeship position undertaking a Certificate III or IV qualification that leads to an occupation from the National Skills Needs List.*

The AAWS is available to three employer cohorts:

– Small enterprises of less than 20 staff
– Medium and large enterprises who have never previously employed an Australian Apprentice; or have not employed an Australian Apprentice in the 3 years prior to 1st January 2019.
– Group Training Organisations – the host employer must meet the Small Enterprise eligibility criteria

To access this incentive, the employer must meet all other eligibility requirements under the Australian Apprenticeships Incentives Program as well as:

– The sign up date and commencements must be from 1st January 2019
– The Workplace must be in an eligible Rural and Regional Postcode
– Be employed under a modern award for their occupation
– Australian Apprentice must be considered additional to the employer’s usual practice
– Meet all the Primary Eligibility criteria for Australian Apprentice Incentives Program

The Australian Apprenticeship Wage Subsidy is based on the modern award wage under which an apprentice is employed. The wage subsidy provides support in the first three years of the apprenticeship as follows:

– 75 per cent of the first year award wage
– 50 per cent of the second year award wage
– 25 per of the third year award wage

Payments will be available six monthly in arrears, with the first payments available at six months from the date of commencement.

Minister for Small and Family Business, Skills and Vocational Education Senator Michaelia Cash said the trial would see up to 1,630 new Australian Apprentices in areas of skills needs.

“There are 3.3 million Australian small businesses which contribute around $395 billion annually to our economy. Small business plays a vital role in our community, from giving young Australians their first real job to supporting our local charities and sporting organisations.

“Through this incentive we are securing the skills our regional and rural businesses need to remain competitive and give local student’s new opportunities at home,” Minister Cash said.

Eligible businesses will gain an average of $37,000 over a three year period.

The Australian Apprentice Wage Subsidy is in addition to the suite of employer incentives available under the Australian Apprenticeships Incentives Program.

The National Australian Apprenticeships Association (NAAA) welcomed the program and commended the Australian Government for taking action to alleviate the decline in apprenticeship commencements in regional areas over recent years.

“This is a really important step in reinvigorating apprenticeship commencements in the bush” Mr Ben Bardon, NAAA CEO said.
Long-time advocate for the Australian Apprenticeship system, Mr Paul Miles Managing Director for BUSY At Work, also applauded the apprenticeship wage incentive subsidy.

“This is a very welcome announcement for regional and rural people including those living in drought affected regions that have been enduring the painful effects of the ongoing regional downturns and youth unemployment.

“This is a fantastic program that can help our small business to employ and train new staff. It’s also a great opportunity to keep our youth in their local community by offering long-term career opportunities,” Mr Miles said.


*There are many traditional trades experiencing a national skills shortage. These trades are identified on the National Skills Needs List, which is based on detailed labour market research. A full list can be found here

**Eligibility requirements apply

**Further information about Awards, including links to each Award can be found on the Fair Work Ombudsman website

– National Australian Apprenticeships Association (NAAA)
Department of Education and Training

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