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Rural businesses get $37,000 Apprenticeship Wage subsidy

The Australian Government today launched a $60m wage subsidy trial providing regional and rural small businesses with generous incentives in apprentice wage subsidies.

The Australian Apprentice Wage Subsidy is targeted at regional and rural small businesses in Australia that haven’t hired an Australian Apprentice within the three year period prior to 1 January 2019.

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.

To be eligible 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 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.

To access this incentive the employer must also meet all other eligibility requirements under the Australian Apprenticeships Incentives Program.

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.


**Eligibility requirements apply

*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.

**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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