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Financial Information

There are financial considerations when taking on an apprentice or trainee, including pay rates and incentives.

Employers are responsible for meeting the industrial relations requirements for all staff, and should be aware that there may be difference for Australian Apprentices compared with other employees.

When considering whether to take on an Australian Apprentice, and who to take on, the employer should consider the overall investment and return they will get across the duration of the apprenticeship or traineeship.

Australian Apprenticeship pay rates and financial incentives acknowledge the training status and reduced productivity of a staff member who is being trained, while also including provisions for that training. The apprentice or trainee will become more productive throughout the duration of the Australian Apprenticeship.

Pay Rates

Apprentice and trainee pay rates are contained in enterprise agreements or modern awards. Australian Apprentices must be signed up into an approved training contract to get paid the rate for an apprentice or trainee.

Where an existing employee is converted to an apprenticeship or traineeship, in some cases the relevant agreement or award may require that their pay rate does not change from their existing rate.

It is the responsibility of the employer to ensure the Australian Apprentice is being paid appropriately. The Fair Work Ombudsman website has useful tools such as the Pay and Conditions Tool, and the accounts section can be used to save information specific to your workplace and to receive notifications of changes when they occur.

For any questions around pay and conditions, you should contact the Fair Work Ombudsman through their website or call them on 13 13 94.

Modern Awards

There is a modern award to cover every industry sector. Generally, employers in the private sector are subject to the conditions in the relevant modern award. 

Under the Modern Award an apprentice or trainee is classified as an employee who has a formal training contract in place with their employer. The training contract must be approved by a state or territory training authority.

Modern Awards are divided into sections covering various topics such as:

  • pay rates including classifications, allowances and overtime
  • competency-based progression for pay
  • ordinary hours of work
  • public holidays
  • release for off-the-job training
  • responsibility for training costs.

Modern awards may provide detail on the National Training Wage and employment of school-based apprentices and trainees. 

Fair Work Ombudsman information about Australian Apprenticeships

Visit Fair Work

Financial incentives

There are a range of financial incentives and allowances that employers of Austalian Apprentices may be eligible for. These typically relate to the apprentice or trainee you take on, or the occupation or industry you are employing them in.

Financial incentives are designed to give a boost to employers who take on an Australian Apprentice. They should not be the main aim for an employer, as these incentives and allowances come with responsibilities and obligations. Take a look at the Employer Responsibilities page for more information about this.

Australian Apprenticeships Incentives Program

The Australian Apprenticeships Incentives Program is run by the Australian Government. It provides a number of incentives to assist employers who take on an Australian Apprentice, particularly where the Australian Apprenticeship is in an occupation experiencing a skills shortage.

Visit the Australian Apprenticeships Incentives Program page on the Australian Government's website for information about the following incentives:

  • Boosting Apprenticeship Commencements
  • Supporting Apprentices and Trainees
  • Additional Identified Skills Shortage Payment
  • Support for Adult Australian Apprentices
  • Assistance for Australian Apprentices with disability
  • Australian Apprentice Wage Subsidy

In addition to these incentives, employers may be eligible for incentives for: commencement or recommencement of an Australian Apprentice; commencement of a mature aged worker, or Australian School-based Apprentice; retention of an Australian School-based Apprentice; or completion of their apprentice or trainee.

To find out whether you would be eligible for incentives when taking on an apprentice or trainee, speak with an Australian Apprenticeship Support Network provider.

Wage subsidies

As a response to COVID-19 and the subsequent economic downturn, the Australian Government has announced two wage subsidies: Supporting Apprentices and Trainees, and Boosting Apprenticeship Commencements. These are both administered by an Australian Apprenticeship Support Network (AASN) provider.

The Supporting Apprentices and Trainees wage subsidy is designed to keep apprentices and trainees who are employed by small and medium-sized businesses in work. Employers with eligible apprentices will be contacted by their AASN provider to discuss the application process for this wage subsidy. You can find more information about this wage subsidy on our COVID-19 Information page.

The Boosting Apprenticeship Commencements wage subsidy is open to all employers taking on a new apprentice or trainee, across all industries and occupations. There are no further eligibility requirements than those to be signed up into an Australian Apprenticeship. There are 100,000 places in this program. The AASN provider will manage the wage subsidy application as part of all new sign-ups until the program is complete. You can find more information about this wage subsidy on our Boosting Apprenticeship Commencements post.

State and Territory Incentives and Allowances

Some state and territory governments offer incentives and allowances to eligible employers of apprentices and trainees. These are typically in areas of priority within the state or territory, and may be in addition to Federal government incentives. An Australian Apprenticeship Support Network provider will be able to assist employers with information about Australian, and State or Territory incentives.

Speak with an AASN provider to find out if you are eligible for financial support

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Industry incentives

Some industry bodies provide incentives or allowances for eligible employers and apprentices within their industry. We have included an example below for your reference. Find out who the relevant industry organisation is and see if they have any incentives you can tap into. For more information about industry organisations in your sector, take a look at our Industry Information pages

Construction industry

Australian Brick and Blocklaying Training Foundation

The ABBTF have a number of incentives available to employers that meet the eligibility requirements. They include a Brickstart subsidy, an incentive to employ female apprentices and an incentive for hiring an adult apprentice. These incentives are in addition to what may already be available through the Australian Government's Australian Apprenticeships Incentives Program.

Construction Skills Queensland

Construction Skills Queensland is committed to assisting the Queensland building and construction industry by providing industry-wide help with training, upskilling and funding. CSQ’s programs focus on attracting, developing and retaining new entrants and existing workers within Queensland's construction industry.

SA Construction Industry Training Board Support Funding

The South Australian Construction Industry Training Board is an industry owned and led, non-government agency. The SA CITB provides support funding to employers who take on apprentices.

WA Construction Training Fund grants

If you employ an apprentice through direct indenture or a group training scheme, the Construction Training Fund can provide grants to help reduce the cost of training. For further information, visit the Construction Training Fund website.