Government support

You may be eligible for government support

Trade Support Loans

To support Australian Apprentices in skill shortage areas. These loans aim to support Australian Apprentices with everyday costs while they complete their apprenticeship.

Applications for Trade Support Loans are now available

Trade Support Loans are to encourage more young people to take up a trade and complete their qualification.

The Australian Government is offering loans of up to $20,000 over the life of an apprenticeship to apprentices who are undertaking a Certificate III or IV level qualification that leads to an occupational outcome on the priority list. These Loans are designed to ease financial burden and help increase apprenticeship completion rates.

Like HELP loans for tertiary students, the loans will be repayable once apprentices are earning a sustainable income.

The Trade Support Loans specifically target occupations on the National Skills Needs List such as plumbers, diesel mechanics, electricians and fitters as well as well priority areas in horticulture and agriculture with more than 100 qualifications eligible.

It will provide real support for current apprentices to complete their skills training and provide a stronger incentive for young Australians to become apprentices.

Download the fact sheet here [LINK TO DOCUMENT]

Amounts of support that may be available [SUB HEADING]
The Trade Support Loans Programme provides more than $1.9 billion in loans which is around double the support that would have been provided under the Tools for your Trade measure.

Around 20 per cent of trade apprentices drop out by the end of their first year and 30 per cent drop out by the end of the second year. That is why loan payments are heavily weighted to the first two years of the apprenticeship, when wages are at their lowest.

MEGT Australian Apprenticeships Centre administers the Trade Support Loans Programme. Australian Apprentices will be able to check their eligibility for a Trade Support Loan through your local MEGT Australian Apprenticeships Centre.

Please call 13 6348 to find out more.

Employers and apprentices can access more information at:

Eligibility [SUB SUB HEADING]

There are terms and conditions as well as eligibility criteria for these Loans.

The Loans are available to apprentices (Australian citizens or holders of a permanent visa) undertaking a Certificate III or IV qualification leading to a number of trade occupations on the National Skills Needs List. More than 100 qualifications are eligible such as plumbers, diesel mechanics, electricians and fitters as well as priority areas in horticulture and agriculture. However not all apprentices who were eligible for Tools For Your Trade will be eligible for Trade Support Loans as the eligibility criteria is slightly different.

School-based and/or part time apprentices may be eligible – subject to meeting the criteria.

Eligible Australian Apprentices will be required to provide their Tax File Number to their Australian Apprenticeships Centre in order to receive the Trade Support Loans.

More information on eligibility is available from your local MEGT Australian Apprenticeships Centre.

See the fact sheets here: for those under 18: parent or guardian version; for those under 18; and the general fact sheet. [LINK TO DOCUMENTS]

Payment information [SUB HEADING]

Eligible first year Australian Apprentices may receive up to $8,000, second year $6,000, third year $4,000 and fourth year apprentices $2,000. Payments are made monthly in arrears (e.g. $666.67 per month in the first year; $500 per month in the second and so forth).

Australian Apprentices who complete their qualification will receive a 20 per cent discount on their Loan. The Loan will be repayable through the tax system once apprentices are earning a sustainable income, $53,345 per year.

Payments will be available in the three month probationary period, as long as the apprentice qualifies for and claims payment.

Apprentices will opt in for a six month payment period with payments made in arrears on a monthly basis. The opt-in will allow apprentices to receive the next six Trade Support Loan payments that fall due. Following this, the apprentices will be required to opt-in again to receive further payments.

Apprentices can also opt-out of receiving payments at any time.

The income of an Australian Apprentice will not impact on their eligibility for loans.

Unlike the Tools For Your Trade payment arrangements, Australian Apprentices will not be able to claim payments retrospectively and there will be no waiting period to claim. Apprentices will not be able to claim payments for instalments that have passed (except in very rate circumstances, such as administrative error).

Apprentices will only be able to claim the next instalment that falls due after they apply. They will not be able to claim instalments that occurred in the past except in very rare circumstances (see above). Apprentices will not have 12 months to claim.

Apprentices will only be able to claim payments while they are undertaking their apprenticeship. If an apprentice completes before the end of four years, their payments cease on completion, even if they have not received the full $20,000. Apprentices will not be paid out the remaining balance on completion.

The Loans will be spread over the four years of an apprenticeship, diminishing as wages increase so that maximum support is provided in the initial years when most needed.

These loans will be paid monthly, with most of the money available in the early years of an apprenticeship.

Support documentation [SUB SUB HEADING]

Under 18s fact sheet [link to DOCUMENT]

Under 18s fact sheet for parents or guardians [LINK TO DOCUMENT]

Change of circumstances form [LINK TO DOCUMENT]

Living Away From Home Allowance (LAFA)

The Living Away From Home Allowance is for eligible Australian Apprentices of any age during the first three years of training if you need to move away from your parental or legal guardian’s home for the first time in order to

  • take up an Australian Apprenticeship or
  • remain in an Australian Apprenticeship or
  • receive essential supplementary on-the-job training with another employer.

You also may be eligible to receive the allowance if you are undertaking an Australian Apprenticeship and you are, or become, homeless.

It is available to eligible full and part-time Australian Apprentices and Australian School-based Apprentices during the first three years of their training.

The allowance is not available to Australian Apprentices who:

  • have lodged a claim for Youth Allowance, Austudy or ABSTUDY or
  • receive rental or accommodation assistance from Centrelink or their employer or
  • moved away from their parental or legal guardian’s home three months or more before starting their Australian Apprenticeship.


Changes to the tax treatment for Living Away from Home Allowance [SUB SUB HEADING]

The Fringe Benefit Tax changes became operational from 1 October 2012 may impact on apprentices and trainees regarding their Living Away From Home Allowance (LAFHA) and the requirement to maintain a home. The Australian Tax Office (ATO) indicates that access to the tax concession for LAFHA only now applies so long as employees ‘maintain’ a home, which presumably means they own or rent one. In many instances apprentices and trainees would not own or rent a home themselves.

Please refer to the Australian Taxation Office website or seek advice from your accountant.
Source July 2014

Support for Adult Australian Apprentices

This support program for Australian Apprentices will cease from 30 June 2015.

Australian Government financial support is available until that date for adult workers as Australian Apprentices aged 25 years and over when they commence their Australian Apprenticeship; and the qualification being undertaken is at the Certificate III or IV level and leads to an occupation that is on the National Skills Needs List (NSNL); and they meet the eligibility criteria.

The payment is made to either the employer or the Australian Apprentice depending on the actual wage paid to the Australian Apprentice until 30th June 2015. The employer payment has not changed for 1 July 2015 onwards.

Previous experience

List your employment from most recent.

State the business name and your job title and for each role you have had, add a couple of brief bullet points explaining the duties/ responsibilities of the role.

If you haven’t been working yet make sure you list any work experience, volunteer work or extra curricular activity such as coaching kids sports teams, tutoring etc.

It is important to separate work experience, paid work and volunteer work.

Be sure to list any special skills such as a second language or specific computer software, etc. If you have a white card, green card, Driver Licence this is where you can add it.

Tools for Your Trade

The Tools for Your Trade initiative ceased on 30 June 2014.

Australian Apprenticeships Mentoring

Our aim is to support and partner you so you can stay on track with your Australian Apprenticeship. We may be able to offer you mentoring* support or just have a chat to help you work through things – at no charge.

Mentoring support is available to apprentices who:

  • are working for an employer with up to 50 employees (nationally, excluding Vic and Tas)
  • are not undertaking an Australian School-based Apprenticeship
  • are aged 16–25 years inclusively (16 – 19 years in Brisbane, Sydney and Perth)
  • don’t have assistance from anywhere else
  • are undertaking a qualification on the National Skills Needs List
  • are not employed by a Group Training Organisation
  • are registered through MEGT Australian Apprenticeships Centre
  • would benefit from contact with a Mentor.

Follow this link to find out how MEGT may be able to help you

Further assistance

Australian Apprentices may be eligible for income support through Youth Allowance, Austudy or ABSTUDY. More information is available from Centrelink on 13 36 33.

Additional State Government bonuses and support

You may be eligible for other bonuses and support from your State Government.  Please refer to the State Government listings at the bottom of the Financial Incentives section of this website.    [LINK TO GO HERE]

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MEGT (Australia) Ltd trading as MEGT is an Australian Apprenticeships Centre contracted by the Australian government as represented by the Department of Education and Training to provide Australian Apprenticeships Support Services to employers and Australian Apprentices. MEGT is one of a number of Australian Apprenticeships Centres in Australia. This website does not represent the Australian Government. If you wish to access information about Australian Apprenticeships from the Australian government, you should access the website

Australian Apprenticeships are Australian Government initiatives.

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