The Government has announced the $2.5bn JobTrainer scheme to retrain, up-skill and open new job opportunities. The $1.5 billion to subsidise the wages of currently employed apprentices and trainees extends a pre-existing program called Supporting Apprentices and Trainees.

JobTrainer scheme for employers

The JobTrainer package has expanded the number of businesses that can access the 50% apprentice wage subsidy and extends the subsidy until 31 March 2021 (from 30 September 2020).

Originally, only businesses with less than 20 employees or larger employers employing apprentices/trainees let go by a small business were able to access the subsidy (for wages paid to apprentices employed by them as at 1 March 2020).

Now, businesses with under 200 employees can access the subsidy for apprentices and trainees they already had on their books as at 1 July 2020.

Employers will be reimbursed 50% of an eligible apprentice’s wage up to a maximum of $7,000 per quarter per apprentice.

Employers will be able to access the subsidy after an assessment by the Australian Apprenticeship Support Network.

The federal government estimates about 90,000 businesses will use the scheme, supporting about 180,000 apprentices or trainees. The scheme is scheduled to run till 31 March 2021.

JobTrainer scheme eligibility

Small business Medium Business
Employ fewer than 20 people, or

A small business with fewer than 20 people, using a Group Training Organisation, and

The apprentice or trainee was undertaking an Australian Apprenticeship with you on 1 July 2020 for claims after this date. Claims prior to 1 July 2020, will continue to be based on the 1 March 2020 eligibility date.

Employ 199 people or fewer, or

A medium sized business with 199 people or fewer, using a Group Training Organisation, and

The apprentice or trainee was undertaking an Australian Apprenticeship with you on 1 July 2020.

Claims open now Claims open on 1 October 2020.

You will need to provide evidence of wages paid to the apprentice. If the business subsequently is unable to retain the apprentice, another business can access the incentive if they then employ and pay wages to the apprentice.

Final claims for payment must be lodged by 30 June 2021.

How does the JobTrainer apprenticeship subsidy and JobKeeper work together?

They don’t. It is one or the other.

An employer will not be eligible to claim the apprentice wage subsidy for any period where they choose to claim the JobKeeper payment for the same apprentice.

An employer or Group Training Organisation will not be eligible for the JobKeeper payment where the employer is in receipt of an Australian Government wage subsidy for the same Australian Apprentice (for example Supporting Apprentices and Trainees and the Australian Apprentice Wage Subsidy).

JobKeeper eligibility information can be found in our previous blog article here: JobKeeper Employer Eligibility

JobTrainer for job seekers and school leavers

An additional 340,700 training places will be created to provide no or low cost courses into sectors with job opportunities. The Government is working with the States and Territories to develop a list of qualifications and skill sets to be covered by the program.

What’s missing from JobTrainer

JobTrainer doesn’t provide any new incentives or subsidies to encourage employers to take on new apprentices or trainees.

In April and May 2020 the number of new apprentices and trainees fell 33 per cent on the same months in 2019.

The Mitchell Institute has previously highlighted how fewer apprenticeships and traineeships can have negative long term effects.

This is especially true for school leavers. About 12 per cent of all school leavers take an apprenticeship or traineeship as a pathway into the workforce.

Not making a successful transition from school to the workforce is associated with poor long-term outcomes. These include higher rates of long term unemployment, high incidences of health problems and a lifetime engagement with the workforce characterised by low pay and precarious work.