Options for apprentices.
Financial support for apprentices is a fundamental component of addressing skills shortages in the arboriculture sector, providing additional assistance to help ensure skilled workers are coming through the ranks, and it is important to be aware of the range of options available.
Given that skills shortages are an ongoing issue for the sector, employers and apprentices will be well served to have an understanding of the processes involved in securing financial support, which can provide an increased incentive to both commence and complete an apprenticeship.
In this series we’ve previously looked at the Additional Identified Skills Shortage (AISS) payment, designed to provide financial incentives for both employers and apprentices across a number of selected occupations, including arborists, experiencing national shortages.
In addition to the AISS payment, there are a number of other forms of financial support available for apprentices, including Trade Support Loans (TSLs) and the Living Away from Home Allowance (LAFHA), helping to assist with costs that arise over the course of an apprenticeship.
“In addition to the AISS payment, there are a number of other forms of financial support available for apprentices.”
Trade Support Loans
As advised via the Australian Apprenticeships website, TSLs are available for eligible apprentices, and have been designed “to assist with everyday costs while completing your apprenticeship”.
Arborists are listed on the TSL Priority List, identifying qualifications and occupations eligible to receive a loan, and apprentices undertaking a Certificate III or IV qualification are potentially eligible.
Australian Apprenticeships Advises:
- Up to $21,078 can be received over the life of an apprenticeship, with the year of the apprenticeship determining the amount that may be received
- There is no waiting period to claim
- TSLs are paid in installments to a nominated bank account, with apprentices able to opt-in and out over the course of an apprenticeship
- It is not possible to claim retrospective TSL payments
- While TSLs are interest-free, they are indexed annually in line with the consumer price index
- TSLs are repaid through the tax system, after a minimum repayment threshold has been reached ($45,880 for 2019-20), with repayments calculated as a percentage of income.
In addition to this, Australian Apprenticeships advises that, upon successful completion of an apprenticeship, a 20 per cent discount on the amount needed to be repaid will be received.
Apprentices seeking to find out more about TSLs will need to contact their local Australian Apprenticeship Support Network (AASN), provider.
Living Away From Home Allowance
It may be necessary to relocate in undertaking an apprenticeship, with the LAFHA designed to support apprentices who fall into this category.
As advised via Apprenticeships Australia, the LAFHA is “for eligible apprentices during the first three years of training”.
Apprenticeships Australia advises that apprentices may be eligible for the LAFHA if they need to move away from their parent 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
There are a number of eligibility requirements that need to be met, and as with TSLs apprentices will need to get in touch with their local AASN provider.
Our next installment in this series will look into the new industry license and how it is changing the profession.