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The Apprenticeship Community

Future Apprentices/Trainees Financial assistance and getting paid

As an apprentice or trainee, you are entitled to be paid for your work. The rate of pay, hours of work, and leave you are entitled to are covered in Employment Awards, or may be set out under an employment contract based on an Award. It's important to have a clear discussion with your employer about this so both parties understand the employment arrangement.

You should be supplied with a copy of, or given access to, your Award/contract by your employer.

Regardless of what your job is, laws exist to ensure conditions that are fair for both employers and employees. Things such as rates of pay, hours of work, holidays, periods of notice and many other important things are covered in Employment Awards. You and your employer each have rights and you each have responsibilities to each other that are specified in the Award that covers your job.

You may be employed under a contract that is separate to, yet based on, an Award. It's important to have a clear discussion with your employer about this so both parties understand the employment arrangement.

You should be supplied with a copy of, or given access to, your Award/contract by your employer.

Further information on wages and conditions:

Fair Work Australia
1300 853 412 (for employers under the Federal industrial relations system)

Wageline
1300 655 266 (for employers covered by the State industrial relations system)

Additional assistance

Some apprentices may be eligible for additional assistance from the Federal Government via Centrelink. We can't assess your eligibility for things like Youth Allowance, Newstart, Austudy or Abstudy, but Centrelink can assist with this (13 36 33). Remember to ask about the Health Care Card while you're at it.

Trade Support Loans

A Trade Support Loan (TSL) is assistance in the form of a loan of up to $20,000 to apprentices in priority trades to help with the costs of living while undertaking an apprenticeship.

Those that qualify can borrow:

  • $8000 in the first year of their apprenticeship
  • $6000 in the second year
  • $4000 in the third year
  • $2000 in the fourth year.

The loans are not paid in a lump sum. You receive monthly payments so there is ongoing assistance throughout your apprenticeship.

Trade Support Loans are flexible. You can borrow the entire amount, a portion of it, or none at all. You can also stop or start the support at any time during your apprenticeship as your needs change.

Remember, it is a loan, so you will have to pay it back, but not until your wage is more than $54,126. When your wage exceeds this threshold, the Australian Taxation Office will contact you and seek to receive repayments from you.

There is no interest on the loan, but it is indexed to inflation so a small amount (whatever the CPI is for that year, usually 2-2.5 per cent) will be added to the amount you borrow.

When you complete your apprenticeship, the Government will give you a 20 per cent discount for finishing, so you only pay back about 80 per cent of the total amount you borrow. It's a great incentive to finish your apprenticeship!