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New apprenticeship wage subsidy a win for employers, but education / safety is key

Published January 12, 2021 (last updated on June 28, 2024) | Adam Wyatt - Content Writer


Employers must educate themselves on all aspects of the new ‘Boosting Apprenticeship Commencements’ wage subsidy to safely get more young people into trades and traineeships, according to Peninsula, Australia’s largest workplace relations advisor to more than 28,000 small and medium-sized enterprises.

Under the scheme, businesses of all sizes, in all industries and locations, will be able to receive subsidies for 50% of the gross wages of a new or recommencing apprentice or trainee, including those employed by Group Training Organisations. This equates to up to $7000 a quarter ($28,000 a year), and runs from from 5 October 2020 to 30 September 2021.

Since it was announced, eligibility for the subsidy has been tightened after concerns were raised employers might rort the system by signing up existing employees. Current workers who embark on a ‘new’ apprenticeship are however included in the scheme.

“While this wage subsidy will help provide employers with a bit of extra support, it’s important they do everything by the books” said Peninsula Managing Director Ed Mallett.

“We reject the notion that employers would openly try to exploit this scheme for their own financial advantage. Many are doing the best they can to recover from the impact COVID-19 has had on their workplace.

“This is ultimately about getting young people into work, and it’s important to encourage the employers and employees who are eligible to take advantage of it.”

The wage subsidy will support 100,000 new apprentices across the country, and is in addition to the ‘Supporting Apprentices and Trainees’ scheme which has helped SMEs keep their apprentices and trainees in work and training since January, 2020.

Employers looking to hire must check the laws surrounding apprentices and trainees, as they vary from state to state, depend on the terms of the modern award applicable to a business, as well as the terms of the Training Agreement.

Apprentices and trainees must be provided with access to appropriate tools, equipment and supervised training at work to acquire the knowledge and skills needed to complete the training.

“While it’s important to get more young people into the workforce, employers must put the safety of themselves and others first”, continued Mr Mallett.

“Any new apprentice hired under this scheme must be enrolled in an approved course of formal training with a Registered Training Organisation, as is standard.

“The apprentice must also be allowed time off to attend formal training, at either a training institution or in the workplace. Employers need to keep records of this and are responsible for providing a safe working environment.

“Having tighter restrictions on this wage subsidy will help avoid poor quality training, allow employers to hire more young workers, and will lead to the creation of more job opportunities to assist employers who are looking to rebuild after a horror 2020,” concluded Mr Mallett.


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