The government is offering small businesses up to $4,000 to hire apprentices in 10 occupations that are suffering from skills shortages.
The Additional Identified Skills Shortage (AISS) payment came into effect on 1 July and enables eligible employers and new apprentices to access incentives that will support plugging skills shortages in 10 “critical industries” and allow more people to become apprentices.
The 10 industries are:
1. Carpenters and Joiners
4. Bakers and Pastry Cooks
6. Vehicle Painters
7. Airconditioning and Refrigeration Mechanics
8. Wall and Floor Tilers
9. Bricklayers and Stonemasons
The AISS provides up to $4,000 in support to eligible employers and $2,000 to new apprentices.
It is hoped that it will create and support up to 80,000 new apprenticeships over five years.
The fine print
For an apprentice and their employer to be eligible for the AISS payment, the apprentice must be:
- new to the employer; and
- commencing a Certificate III or IV level qualification on or after 1 July 2019 leading to one of 10 occupations (see list above).
Employers will only be eligible to claim the AISS payment for apprentices that qualify as being “additional” (i.e. over and above the employer’s usual apprentice intake).
This is intended to “encourage a genuine increase in the supply of Australian apprenticeships to address skills shortages”. (However, apprentices themselves will be eligible for the $2,000 incentive support if they meet the above requirements, regardless of whether they are accessing an “additional” apprenticeship.)
If the employer meets the above requirements, they will receive $2,000 at the 12-month point from the commencement of the apprenticeship, and an additional $2,000 at completion of the apprenticeship.
These payments will be administered under the Australian Apprenticeships Incentives Program (AAIP) and are additional to any payments the apprentice or employer may be eligible for under existing Australian government programs, including the AAIP.
AISS payments will be made directly to the recipient’s nominated bank account and, if the employer provides their Australian Business Number, the payment will not have any tax withheld. Should no ABN be provided, 47 per cent of each payment will be withheld and remitted to the Australian Taxation Office.
Existing workers and their employers are not eligible for the AISS payment.
Speaking of the newly available scheme, the Minister for Employment, Skills, Small and Family Business, Senator Michaelia Cash, commented: “The government’s new incentive targets occupations with critical skills shortages, including carpenters and joiners, plumbers, hairdressers, bakers and pastry cooks, wall and floor tilers, and arborists.
“The AISS is an important part of the Australian government’s $525 million package Delivering Skills for Today and Tomorrow, an investment that will upgrade and modernise Australia’s VET sector and encourage more people to pursue a career in the skilled workforce,” she said.
Annie Kane is the editor of The Adviser and Mortgage Business, Australia’s leading source of news, opinion and strategy for mortgage brokers and third-party mortgage distribution.
Before joining Momentum Media in 2016, Annie wrote for a range of business and consumer titles, including The Guardian (Australia), BBC Music Magazine, Elle (Australia), BBC Countryfile, BBC Homes & Antiques, and Resource magazine.