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Apprentice Pay.

What is an Apprentice?

An apprentice is an employee who has a formal training contract with their employer. An apprentice must hold a formal training contract with the relevant state or territory apprenticeship authority, which will usually require them to undertake training through a Registered Training Organisation (RTO) such as TAFE.

Under this contract, the apprentice is paid to learn on the job and develop skills related to their role in the business. Special minimum apprentice pay rates and conditions apply and it is vital employers understand the specific rules of their industry award.

How Much Should an Apprentice Be Paid?

Paying an apprentice is not as simple as paying other employees. This is because the rate of pay is based on a number of different factors and considerations including:

  • age (particularly whether or not the employee is 21 years or older)
  • terms and conditions of the registered agreement
  • length / duration of the apprenticeship
  • prior learning (for instance how much training the apprentice has already completed)
  • schooling (whether or not the employee is still attending school)
  • qualification (whether or not the employee completed year 12)

Due to the range of factors that go into calculating apprentices pay rates, each industry has their own variations based on the apprentice, their job and level of experience.

Increasing the Apprentice Pay Rate

During an apprenticeship, the apprentice will naturally learn new skills and become more competent in their job. When an apprentice progresses to the next level of their apprenticeship, they are usually entitled to a pay increase. Modes of progression will usually be outlined in the applicable industrial instrument. In most cases, progression is:

  • time based – that is, the apprentice moves up to the next pay level after they have worked a certain amount of time (usually 12 months) and/or
  • competency based – that is when the apprentice has attained the required skills to advance to the next stage of their apprenticeship. This can occur prior to the completion of the relevant time period.

How an apprentice complete the training depends and progress is dependent upon the relevant industry award and terms in the employment agreement. However, once the apprentice has finished the training, their pay rate must be raised to the applicable standard.

Mature Aged Apprentice Wage and Special Conditions

Also known as an Adult Apprentice, a mature aged apprentice is anyone who is 21 years or older.

Hiring a mature aged apprentice can be good for business. For people 21 years or older, they have probably overcome the many challenges faced by 14 to 21year old’s and might be more willing to learn, cooperate, and grow with the position. If the apprentice has previous experience in the field, it will also take less time to teach them the basics and they might take on more advanced tasks a younger apprentice may not be ready for.

Some mature aged apprentices will have obligations a younger apprentice might not have such as children to care for, marriage and paying off a mortgage. For this reason, a mature aged apprentice can negotiate with their employer on several aspects of the job to balance their personal obligations and meet the needs of the business. As they may have financial burdens, an adult apprentice may also be more inclined to stay on with their employer.

The trade-off for this experience is that the wage rates for adult apprentices are usually higher than that of their junior equivalent.

Discussions about the mature aged apprentice wage, availability, and special conditions can be carried out between the apprentice and employer with help from an authorised training provider.

For advice on how to calculate apprentice pay rates and other useful information, fill out the online form to request a free consultation with a workplace relations specialist.

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