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The Benefits of Hiring an Apprentice

Published October 21, 2020 (last updated February 9, 2023) - Head of Operations
Business hiring an Apprentice

Have you considered the benefits of taking on an apprentice or a trainee?

Taking on an apprentice or trainee enables you to manage your staffing levels more effectively and plan for the future, as these employees are usually employed for the duration of the Apprenticeship or Traineeship, and provide the opportunity to continue with their employer once training is completed.

You can teach your new apprentice or trainee skills and processes appropriate to your business and the way you prefer to do things, but the business can also benefit from some of the new techniques and procedures the apprentice or trainee is learning through their Registered Training Organisation (RTO). Hiring apprentices or trainees may also be more cost-effective in the short-term as they are often on a lower pay rate than experienced employees, whilst studying.

The Federal Government has announced a further subsidy scheme for apprentices. In addition to the previous ‘Supporting Apprentices and Trainees Wage Subsidy’ for small businesses to help retain existing apprentices and trainees, as part of the Budget another wage subsidy can be claimed when hiring a new apprentice or trainee.

The ‘Boosting Apprenticeship Commencements Wage Subsidy”’ applies to businesses of all sizes. A business can receive up to 50% of the gross wages of a new apprentice which can be as much as $7000 a quarter in subsidy until a cap of 100,000 apprentices is reached. So, what does hiring an apprentice involve?

Apprenticeships and Traineeships

Apprenticeships and traineeships are formal training agreements where employees work and receive on-the-job training while studying for a qualification. To qualify, apprentices and trainees must attend a registered training organisation, such as a TAFE or trade school.

The training agreement must also be registered with an appropriate State or Territory Training Authority (STA).  In addition, because the apprentice or trainee is also a full-time or part-time employee, they should have a separate employment contract for the same period as their Training Agreement. The contract sets out the rights and obligations of both the employer and the employee regarding the apprentice’s employment. Apprentices get the same entitlements as other employees, such as annual leave, sick leave, public holidays and breaks

Apprentices and trainees are similar, both are an employee who is completing studies whilst working to gain experience and a qualification. However, a trainee is usually studying and training in a vocational area – such as information technology, accounting, or hospitality, while an apprentice is learning a trade such as plumbing or hairdressing.

Traineeships generally take 12 months to 2 years, whilst apprenticeships are longer at around 3 or 4 years to become trade qualified.

Hiring an apprentice

The Federal Government provides a free service called the Australian Apprenticeship Support Network (Apprenticeship Network) that can help you find an RTO with information on the training requirements of the Apprenticeship. The RTO will also provide you with the Training Agreement for you and the apprentice to sign.

A Training Agreement may state apprentices and trainees must be provided with access to appropriate tools and equipment, as well as supervised training at work to acquire the knowledge and skills required to complete their course.  In addition to the requirements in the Training Agreement, Awards and registered agreements can have specific entitlements or rules that apply. Most Awards state time spent training is paid as work time, which means apprentices get paid while at work and while attending training at the RTO. The employer also pays for the RTO training fees and costs. Other entitlements, like overtime and pay increases, are different in each award.

Wages for apprentices depend on many factors:

  • the age of the apprentice
  • if they are still at school or have left school
  • if they have left school, how long ago they left school
  • how far advanced they are in their apprenticeship
  • the type of qualification
  • the industry or occupation.

If you are thinking of hiring an apprentice, ensure you have all the information necessary to support your employees and business. Call us now for free initial advice.

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