The arboriculture industry as a whole is dealing with ongoing labour shortages, and it is certainly worthwhile considering any incentives on offer to help train more workers, including the Additional Identified Skills Shortage (AISS) payment, which was introduced last year.
As previously covered in this series, a Department of Employment, Skills, Small and Family Business (formerly the Department of Jobs and Small Business) occupation report shows the labour market for arborists tightened significantly in 2018, with the lowest proportion of vacancies filled on record.
Further to this, the report notes new occupation supply remains below levels recorded in 2014, with there being signs demand has continued to grow, while apprenticeship commencements in the previous three years have declined.
The AISS payment is one measure introduced by the federal government to address skills shortages, with it advised via the Australian Apprenticeships website that it has been established “to boost the supply of skilled workers in occupations experiencing national skills shortages”.
AISS Payment: Employer And Apprentice Financial Incentives
Under the AISS payment, which commenced July 1 last year, financial incentives are provided for employers and apprentices across 10 occupations experiencing national shortages, including arborists, with it seeking to encourage more uptake of apprenticeships and grow the number of apprentices.
As the AISS payment fact sheet (available at the Australian Apprenticeships website) advises, the payments are administered under the Australian Apprenticeships Incentives Program (AAIP), and are additional to any payments an apprentice or employer may be eligible for under existing Australian government programs, with:
- Eligible employers receiving $2,000, 12 months after commencement of the apprenticeship, and an additional $2,000 upon its completion
- Eligible apprentices receiving $1,000, 12 months after commencing their apprenticeship, and an additional $1,000 upon its completion
The fact sheet advises that for an apprentice and their employer to be eligible, the apprentice must be new to the employer, commencing a Certificate III or IV level qualification on or after July 1 last year, leading to one of the designated occupations, with existing workers and their employers not eligible.
In addition to this, employers will only be eligible to claim the AISS payment for apprentices that qualify as being additional, with apprentices falling into this category being over and above the employer’s usual apprentice intake.
Meanwhile, an apprentice who is new to their employer and undertaking a Certificate or IV qualification, leading to one of the designated occupations is eligible, regardless of whether they are additional.
Exploring All Options
For employers and apprentices, it is certainly worthwhile exploring all of the options available under the AAIP, which contains a range of payments, including Trade Support Loans and standard employer incentives.
Meanwhile, looking ahead, it is also important to note that the AAIP will be replaced by the Incentives for Australian Apprenticeships (IAA) program, which will see a number of changes introduced, from July 1 this year.
For employers and apprentices seeking out further information, details about the AISS payment and the AAIP and IAA programs, along with a range of other relevant information, can be found at the Australian Apprenticeships website.
Our next instalment in this series will look into the new industry licence and how it is changing the profession.