As an Australian Apprentice you may be eligible for financial assistance from the Australian Government to help with the costs of undertaking an apprenticeship.
Additional Identified Skills Shortage Payment
The Additional Identified Skills Shortage Payment is available to eligible apprentices commencing from 1 July 2019 and their employers, in ten occupations experiencing national skills shortages.
For an apprentice and their employer to be eligible for the AISS payment, the apprentice must be new to the employer, commencing a Certificate III or IV level qualification on or after 1 July 2019 leading to one of ten occupations experiencing national skills shortages. Existing workers and their employers are not eligible for the AISS payment.
Employers will only be eligible to claim the AISS payment for apprentices that qualify as being additional – that is, over and above the employer’s usual apprentice intake. This is intended to encourage a genuine increase in the supply of Australian Apprenticeships to address skills shortages. An Australian Apprentice who is new to their employer and undertaking a certificate III or IV qualification leading to one of the listed occupations is eligible, regardless of if they are additional.
To determine your eligibility and to apply for the AISS incentive payment contact your local Australian Apprenticeship Support Network provider.
Trade Support Loans
Trade Support Loans (TSLs) are available to eligible apprentices to assist with everyday costs while completing your apprenticeship. You can receive up to $21,542 over the life of the apprenticeship (lifetime limit in 2020-21). The year of your apprenticeship determines the amount you may receive.There is no waiting period to claim.
You may be eligible if:
- you are studying a Certificate III or IV qualification that leads to an occupation listed on the Trade Support Loans Priority List; or
- you are studying a Certificate II, III or IV agricultural qualification specified on the Trade Support Loans Priority List; or
- you are studying a Certificate II, III or IV horticulture qualification specified on the Trade Support Loans Priority List in rural or regional Australia - the Trade Support Loan Rules specify a list of postcodes for rural or regional areas of Australia; and
- you are an Australian citizen or permanent resident.
When you access a TSL you need to provide your Tax File Number (TFN) as repayments of your loan are made through the Australian tax system. It's best to have your TFN before you apply for a TSL to ensure you can access the loan.
TSLs are paid in instalments to your nominated bank account. You can opt in and out of the TSL over the life of your apprenticeship. You cannot claim retrospective TSL payments.
TSLs are interest free but indexed annually in line with the consumer price index. TSL is repaid through the tax system, after you have reached the minimum repayment threshold ($46,620 for 2020-21). Repayments are calculated as a percentage of your income. To find out the amount you need to pay back, read about thresholds and rates. When you successfully complete your apprenticeship you will receive a 20% discount on the amount you need to repay.
To see if you are eligible for, or to apply for a TSL, contact your local Australian Apprenticeship Support Network (Apprenticeship Network) provider.
The Trade Support Loans Act 2014 is the main piece of legislation used to administer the Trade Support Loans Program. A copy of the Act, the Guidelines and supporting documents are available on the Department of Education, Skills and Employment website.
Trade Support Loans - Fact Sheets
What if I am under 18?
No age limits apply to a Trade Support Loan, however an apprentice aged under 18 years (a minor) will be required to seek the acknowledgement of a parent or guardian to ensure the minor understands that the Trade Support Loan debt must be later repaid in accordance with the Trade Support Loans Act 2014.
What if I move overseas?
If you have a TSL debt and move overseas you must make compulsory repayments if your Australian and foreign-sourced income is above the income repayment threshold. If you have a TSL debt and intend to be, or have been overseas for six months, you must notify the Australian Taxation Office of your new contact details. Further information is available on the Australian Taxation Office website.
Living Away from Home Allowance
The Living Away from Home Allowance (LAFHA) is an allowance for eligible apprentices during the first three years of training.
You may be eligible to receive the allowance if you need to move away from your parental or legal guardian’s home for the first time to:
- start an Australian Apprenticeship
- remain in an Australian Apprenticeship
- receive essential supplementary on-the-job training with another employer.
You may also be eligible to receive the allowance if you are undertaking an Australian Apprenticeship and you are, or become, homeless.
You are NOT eligible if you:
- have lodged a claim for Youth Allowance, Austudy or ABSTUDY;
- receive rental or accommodation assistance from any source; or
- moved away from your parental or legal guardian’s home three months or more before starting your Australian Apprenticeship.
To see if you are eligible for to apply for the LAFHA contact your local Apprenticeship Network provider.
Assistance for Australian Apprentices with disability
The Australian Government provides additional support to Australian Apprentices with disability through assistance for tutorial, interpreter and mentor services for apprentices.
Tutorial, interpreter and mentor services are available for eligible apprentices who need extra assistance with their off-the-job training.
Apprentices must be experiencing difficulty with off-the-job training because of that disability.
Registered Training Organisations who provide these services are able to attract financial aid.
This payment is NOT made to Australian Apprentices.
For more information about support to Australian Apprentices with disability, contact your local Apprenticeship Network provider.
Help is also available through the Employment Assistance Fund (EAF).
The EAF gives financial aid to eligible people so they can buy work related modifications, equipment, help and services.