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Employing an Australian Apprentice is a smart investment in the future of your business. Investing in training through an Australian Apprenticeship can provide your business with real benefits and contribute to your bottom line. A range of financial incentives may be available to you when you employ an eligible Australian Apprentice.

What are Australian Apprenticeships?

Australian Apprenticeships (often referred to as apprenticeships or traineeships) offer opportunities for anyone of working age to train, study and earn an income in a wide range of occupations and trades.

They are available in more than 500 occupations at all certificate levels up to Advanced Diploma and provide nationally recognised quality training developed by industry for industry.

You can find out more about Australian Apprenticeships by watching the following videos.The videos feature the perspectives of AFL Legend Kevin Sheedy AM and owner and manager of The Valonz Group and hairdresser to the stars, Renya Xydis.

It also features employers that have found success through investing in Australian Apprenticeships.

Employing an Australian Apprentice

Australian Apprentices are usually employed under a federal or state award or agreement. They are paid a wage which varies depending on a number of factors including which year of their training they are in, the type of Australian Apprenticeship they are doing and the industry or occupation.

Australian Apprentices have the same rights to superannuation, workers’ compensation and other entitlements or requirements as all other workers in Australia.

No two businesses are the same, which is why Australian Apprenticeships have been designed to be flexible.

An Australian Apprentice can be a student or school-leaver, a person re-entering the workforce or an adult worker simply wishing to change careers.

Australian Apprenticeships combine time at work with training, and can be either full-time, part-time or school-based.

Rates of pay are determined by the award or agreement under which the Australian Apprentice is employed.  Awards and conditions including employer contributions to training costs are set independently of the Australian Government by the Fair Work Commission. The Fair Work Commission decided to include employer reimbursement of training fees in most modern awards from 1 January 2015. More information on awards, wages and conditions are available from the Fair Work Ombudsman.

In hiring an Australian Apprentice, you can negotiate off-the-job training components around timing, location and the nature of the training to meet your business needs.

Group Training Organisations can organise for you to share an Australian Apprentice with another business if you do not have enough work for an ongoing or full-time position, or if you do not have the range of work available to ensure that your Australian Apprentice gains all the necessary skills for your industry.

You can also engage an Australian Apprentice part-time while he or she is still at school through an Australian School-based Apprenticeship.

Don’t forget that mature-aged and adult Australian Apprentices re-entering the workforce or making a career change can bring a wide range of life and workplace skills and experience to your business.

How long does an Australian Apprenticeship take?

An Australian Apprenticeship can take from one to four years to complete, depending on the type of Australian Apprenticeship and the qualification undertaken. Training pathways and durations are set by state or territory governments in consultation with industry.

Australian Apprentices may be granted course credits for any skills they already have, as well as their prior experience in the workplace, potentially reducing their formal training time. Australian Apprenticeships are ‘competency based’ which means Australian Apprentices can complete their training sooner if they get to the required skill levels more quickly than usual.

Incentives can help you in employing an Australian Apprentice

Employers hiring Australian Apprentices may be eligible to receive incentive payments under the Australian Apprenticeships Incentives Programme.

Incentive payments are made when Australian Apprentices commence, recommence and complete their training. Tens of thousands of employers of Australian Apprentices receive incentive payments from the Australian Government every year.

Incentives are subject to eligibility criteria, waiting periods and time limits being met. Your Apprenticeship Network provider will assess your eligibility for incentives.

Additional assistance for employers and Australian Apprentices

Depending on the Australian Apprenticeship undertaken, you or your Australian Apprentice may be eligible to apply for one or more of the following additional forms of support, subject to meeting certain eligibility criteria.

Support for Adult Australian Apprentices - Australian Government financial support is available for adult workers (aged 25 years or over) to upgrade their skills through an Australian Apprenticeship at the Certificate III or IV level in an occupation listed on the National Skills Needs List. The payment is made to the employer depending on the actual wage paid to the Australian Apprentice.

Australian Apprentices with disability - Disabled Australian Apprentice Wage Support (DAAWS) provides additional assistance to employers who employ an eligible Australian Apprentice with disability in a Certificate II or higher level qualification. DAAWS is also available to an employer whose Australian Apprentice acquires a disability during their Australian Apprenticeship.

Assistance for Tutorial, Mentor and Interpreter Services is available to Registered Training Organisations to support eligible Australian Apprentices with disability who are experiencing difficulty with the off-the-job component of their Australian Apprenticeship because of their disability.

Employers of Australian Apprentices with disability may also be eligible for assistance through the Employment Assistance Fund which helps people with disability and mental health conditions by providing financial support to purchase a range of work related modifications and services. Employers can access the scheme via JobAccess Disability Employment Services or through a jobactive organisation in your region.

In some cases there may be additional government programmes which provide financial support subject to individual circumstances and eligibility criteria. Your Apprenticeship Network provider can help you access programmes where available.

Finding an Australian Apprentice

You can find an Australian Apprentice by:

The Australian Apprenticeship Support Network

The Australian Apprenticeship Support Network (Apprenticeship Network) will make it easier for employers like you to recruit, train and retain an apprentice.

The Australian Government will invest up to $190 million annually in the Apprenticeship Network which will provide personalised support to employers and their apprentices throughout the apprenticeship lifecycle, from commencement to completion.

Apprenticeship Network providers help employers navigate through apprenticeship arrangements and ensure apprentices get the support they need to complete their training through delivery of:

  • Universal services for all clients, providing essential administrative support, payment processing and regular contact; and
  • Targeted services, such as mentoring, for employers and individuals assessed as needing additional support to complete the apprenticeship.

Apprenticeship Network providers operate from more than 420 locations nationally and will work with you to identify the right training for your apprentices and make sure they get the skills they need to support your business.

They will engage with State and Territory Authorities to help manage administration of apprenticeship arrangements, including the training contract, training plan approvals and completion arrangements.

The Apprenticeship Network is there to help you make the most of Australian Apprenticeships and the benefits they can bring to your business.

Making Indigenous Australian Apprenticeships your business

Are you an employment and/or training service provider?

Are you trying to enhance your ability to achieve successful Australian Apprenticeship outcomes for Indigenous Australians?

Are you a staff member of an organisation working to improve training and employment opportunities for Indigenous Australians?

The Making Indigenous Australian Apprenticeships your business resource kit has been designed to provide a range of practical resources to assist Indigenous employment and training service providers in improving access of Indigenous people to Australian Apprenticeships.

It may be useful for service providers who support Indigenous Australians in other employment and training situations.