Coronavirus (COVID-19) updates from the Australian Government

Apprentices and trainees

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The Government is supporting Australia’s economic recovery by ensuring we maintain our pipeline of skilled workers and keep apprentices and trainees in work. The Government’s commitment to a skilled economy includes a $1 billion JobTrainer Fund, and extending its wage subsidy for apprentices and trainees to help businesses keep their apprentices and trainees in work.

The Government is seeking to partner with states and territories to establish a $1 billion JobTrainer Fund to rapidly provide more Australians with access to free, or low cost, training places in areas of identified skills need. The Government’s commitment of $500 million, to be matched by states and territories, will give new opportunities for school-leavers and options for job seekers to upskill and reskill in a new career path that will be critical to the economic recovery.

The Government is supporting small and medium-sized businesses and Group Training Organisations to retain their apprentices and trainees. Where a small or medium business is not able to retain an apprentice, a re-engagement subsidy is available to a new employer of any size.

Eligibility - from 1 January 2020 to 30 September 2020 – support for small business

The subsidy is available to support small businesses with fewer than 20 employees, including those using a Group Training Organisation, who retain an apprentice or trainee. Eligible employers can apply for a wage subsidy of 50 per cent of the apprentice’s or trainee’s wage paid during the 9 months from 1 January 2020 to 30 September 2020, up to a cap of $7,000 per quarter. The apprentice or trainee must have been in an Australian Apprenticeship with a small business as at 1 March 2020. Employers of any size, including Group Training Organisations, that re engage an eligible out of trade apprentice or trainee are eligible for the subsidy.

Eligibility - from 1 July 2020 to 31 March 2021 – support for small and medium business

The Government is extending and expanding the Supporting Apprentices and Trainees wage subsidy. From 1 July 2020, the subsidy will be available to support small and medium businesses with fewer than 200 employees, including those using a Group Training Organisation, who retain an Australian Apprentice engaged as at 1 July 2020. Eligible employers can apply for a wage subsidy of 50 per cent of the apprentice’s or trainee’s wage paid during the 9 months from 1 July 2020 to 31 March 2021, up to a cap of $7,000 per quarter. Employers of any size including Group Training Organisations that re engage an eligible out of trade apprentice or trainee will also be eligible for the subsidy.

Group Training Organisations 

Group Training Organisations with an apprentice or trainee working in a host business of any size in receipt of the JobKeeper Payment will also be eligible for the wage subsidy. Eligible Group Training Organisations will receive a subsidy equivalent to $1,500 per fortnight for wages paid from 1 April 2020 to 27 September 2020.

Next steps

Registrations are open. Final claims must be lodged by 31 December 2021.

Visit the Department of Education, Skills and Employment website.

Visit the Australian Apprenticeships website.

Case study

David’s Plumbing

David’s Plumbing is a small-sized business that employs 10 people, including two Australian Apprentices.

Taylor is a first year Australian Apprentice, aged 20, undertaking a Certificate III qualification. She commenced her apprenticeship with David’s Plumbing on 6 February 2020. Taylor receives a weekly wage of $532.89.

Lisa is a third year Australian Apprentice, aged 29, undertaking a Certificate IV qualification. She commenced her apprenticeship with David’s Plumbing on 18 November 2017. She receives a weekly wage of $772.71.

David’s Plumbing are eligible for Supporting Apprentices and Trainees which pays 50 per cent of the apprentices’ wages that have been paid by David’s Plumbing since 1 January 2020.

David’s Plumbing will receive: 

  • $15,949 subsidy for employing Taylor for 6 February 2020 to 31 March 2021; and
  • $25,113 subsidy for employing Lisa for 1 January 2020 to 31 March 2021.

Fact sheet

PDF file

See also