Education News

RAC apprentices eligible for new ‘clean energy’ payment

Refrigeration and air conditioning apprentices are now eligible for additional financial support thanks to the trade’s reclassification as a “clean energy” job in the updated Australian Apprenticeships Priority List.

The priority list identifies occupations for the Australian Apprenticeships Incentive System, which provides support payments for both apprentices and their employers.

The latest priority list also includes a new classification of clean-energy-specific skills. According to the government, these align to the needs of the clean energy sector as identified through consultation and feedback from industry.

Of interest to the HVAC&R sector, both refrigeration and air conditioning mechanics, and air conditioning and mechanical services plumbers have now been designated as clean energy related. This makes apprentices in these jobs eligible for the New Energy Apprentice Support Payment.

As noted on the Support for Australian Apprentices webpage, a full-time Australian apprentice can receive a payment of $2,000 at six,12, 24 and 36 months, and completion; a part-time Australian apprentice can receive $1,000. This payment is to help meet the cost-of-living pressures and to stay in training.

This payment would be received instead of (not in addition to) the Australian Apprentice Training Support Payment, which already offers apprentices in priority occupations similar payments, albeit at lower rates.

“Apprentice completion rates have been steadily declining over the past decade, and we must arrest that decline to provide meaningful career pathways and jobs where industry needs them,” says Minister for Skills and Training Brendan O’Connor.

“Of all the apprentices and trainees that commenced training in 2017, the latest available figures show just 55.7 per cent reached completion.

“Targeting areas with current and emerging skills demand will ensure apprentices have secure employment for years to come and ultimately fill urgently needed skills vacancies.”

For more information on available incentives, click here.

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