Trade Support Loans are to encourage more young people to take up a trade and complete their qualification and are available to apprentices undertaking a Certificate III or IV level qualification leading to occupations on the National Skills Needs List as well as a number of agriculture and horticulture qualifications at the Certificates II, III and IV levels.
Trade Support Loans are paid in instalments totalling up to $20,000 over the life of the Australian Apprenticeship. These loans are intended to assist apprentices with everyday costs while they complete their apprenticeship. Eligible trade Australian Apprentices may apply (opt-in) for monthly instalments according to their needs.
The loan becomes repayable once the loan recipient’s income reaches the income repayment threshold.
Why the Programme was created
The Trade Support Loans Programme provides more than $1.9 billion in loans which is around double the support that would have been provided under the Tools for your Trade measure.
Around 20 per cent of trade apprentices drop out by the end of their first year and 30 per cent drop out by the end of the second year. That is why loan payments are heavily weighted to the first two years of the apprenticeship, when wages are at their lowest.
MEGT Apprenticeship Network Provider administers the Trade Support Loans Programme. Australian Apprentices will be able to check their eligibility for a Trade Support Loan through your local MEGT Apprenticeship Network Provider.
Please call 13 6348 to find out more.
Employers and apprentices can access more information at: http://www.australianapprenticeships.gov.au/trade-support-loans
There are terms and conditions as well as eligibility criteria for Trade Support Loans (TSL). TSL is available to apprentices who reside in Australia and are an Australian citizen, or the holder of a permanent visa. They must be undertaking a Certificate III or IV level qualification that leads to an occupation on the National Skills Needs List, or a Certificate II, III or IV agriculture qualification, or a Certificate II, III or IV horticulture qualification while working in rural or regional Australia.
Eligibility is assessed by your Apprenticeship Network Provider on receipt of a completed Trade Support Loans Application Form.
Eligible first year Australian Apprentices may receive up to $8,000, second year $6,000, third year $4,000 and fourth year apprentices $2,000. Payments are made monthly in arrears (e.g. $666.67 per month in the first year; $500 per month in the second and so forth).
Australian Apprentices who complete their qualification will receive a 20 per cent discount on their Loan. The Loan will be repayable through the tax system once apprentices are earning a sustainable income, $53,345 per year.
Payments will be available in the three month probationary period, as long as the apprentice qualifies for and claims payment.
Apprentices will opt in for a six month payment period with payments made in arrears on a monthly basis. The opt-in will allow apprentices to receive the next six Trade Support Loan payments that fall due. Following this, the apprentices will be required to opt-in again to receive further payments.
Apprentices can also opt-out of receiving payments at any time.
The income of an Australian Apprentice will not impact on their eligibility for loans.
Apprentices will only be able to claim the next instalment that falls due after they apply. They will not be able to claim instalments that occurred in the past except in very rare circumstances (see above). Apprentices will not have 12 months to claim.
Apprentices will only be able to claim payments while they are undertaking their apprenticeship. If an apprentice completes before the end of four years, their payments cease on completion, even if they have not received the full $20,000. Apprentices will not be paid out the remaining balance on completion.
The Loans will be spread over the four years of an apprenticeship, diminishing as wages increase so that maximum support is provided in the initial years when most needed.
These loans will be paid monthly, with most of the money available in the early years of an apprenticeship.
The Living Away From Home Allowance is for eligible Australian Apprentices of any age during the first three years of training if you need to move away from your parental or legal guardian’s home for the first time in order to
- take up an Australian Apprenticeship or
- remain in an Australian Apprenticeship or
- receive essential supplementary on-the-job training with another employer.
You also may be eligible to receive the allowance if you are undertaking an Australian Apprenticeship and you are, or become, homeless.
It is available to eligible full and part-time Australian Apprentices and Australian School-based Apprentices during the first three years of their training.
The allowance is not available to Australian Apprentices who:
- have lodged a claim for Youth Allowance, Austudy or ABSTUDY or
- receive rental or accommodation assistance from Centrelink or their employer or
- moved away from their parental or legal guardian’s home three months or more before starting their Australian Apprenticeship.
Changes to the tax treatment for Living Away from Home Allowance
The Fringe Benefit Tax changes became operational from 1 October 2012 may impact on apprentices and trainees regarding their Living Away From Home Allowance (LAFHA) and the requirement to maintain a home. The Australian Tax Office (ATO) indicates that access to the tax concession for LAFHA only now applies so long as employees ‘maintain’ a home, which presumably means they own or rent one. In many instances apprentices and trainees would not own or rent a home themselves.
This support program for Australian Apprentices will cease from 30 June 2015.
Australian Government financial support is available until that date for adult workers as Australian Apprentices aged 25 years and over when they commence their Australian Apprenticeship; and the qualification being undertaken is at the Certificate III or IV level and leads to an occupation that is on the National Skills Needs List (NSNL); and they meet the eligibility criteria.
The payment is made to either the employer or the Australian Apprentice depending on the actual wage paid to the Australian Apprentice until 30th June 2015. The employer payment has not changed for 1 July 2015 onwards.
Our aim is to support and partner you so you can stay on track with your Australian Apprenticeship. We may be able to offer you mentoring* support or just have a chat to help you work through things – at no charge.
Mentoring support is available to apprentices who:
- are working for an employer with up to 50 employees (nationally, excluding Vic and Tas)
- are not undertaking an Australian School-based Apprenticeship
- are aged 16–25 years inclusively (16 – 19 years in Brisbane, Sydney and Perth)
- don’t have assistance from anywhere else
- are undertaking a qualification on the National Skills Needs List
- are not employed by a Group Training Organisation
- are registered through MEGT Apprenticeship Network Provider
- would benefit from contact with a Mentor.
Australian Apprentices may be eligible for income support through Youth Allowance, Austudy or ABSTUDY. More information is available from Centrelink on 13 36 33.
Australian Apprenticeships Centres are now Australian Apprenticeship Support Network locations.
MEGT (Australia) Ltd, trading as MEGT, is an Apprenticeship Network Provider contracted by the Australian Government as represented by the Department of Education and Training to provide Australian Apprenticeship Support Network (AASN) services to employers and Australian Apprentices. MEGT is one of eleven Apprenticeship Network Providers throughout Australia. This website does not represent the Australian Government. If you wish to access information about Australian Apprenticeships from the Australian Government, please visit http://www.australianapprenticeships.gov.au.
Australian Apprenticeships Incentives Programme Guidelines and associated appendices may be viewed on the Department of Education and Training website.
Australian Apprenticeship Network Providers are an Australian Government funded initiative.