The federal government will invest $60m to trial a wage subsidy as an incentive for employers in regional and rural communities to engage more apprentices. The Apprentice Wage Subsidy will see up to 1,630 new Australian apprentices in areas of skills needs – including refrigeration and air conditioning.
The scheme is open to employers who take on a new apprentice doing a full-time Certificate III or IV qualification that leads to an occupation listed on the National Skills Needs List in a regional or rural workplace. The list includes air conditioning and refrigeration mechanic. Mature-age apprentices are covered by the scheme, as long as they meet the other eligibility criteria.
Under the trial, the government will subsidise 75 per cent of the first-year award wage, 50 per cent of the second-year award wage, and 25 per cent of the third-year award wage. There are 1,630 places available.
The trial begins on January 1 and will continue until all places are taken.
The new wage subsidy complements other incentives currently available through the Australian Apprenticeships Incentives Program (AAIP). However, it is not available where an employer is receiving any other form of federal or state government wage subsidy or equivalent assistance for the apprentice. Payments will be made directly into employers’ bank accounts.
Deputy Prime Minister, Nationals’ Leader and Minister for Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development Michael McCormack says the incentive will provide a much-needed boost to communities throughout regional and rural Australia.
“It’s an incentive that I’m confident will encourage businesses and employers to engage a new apprentice and turbo-charge someone’s future career,” he says. “A VET qualification is every bit as important to the economy as a university degree.”