Everything you need to know about the Australian Government’s Boosting Apprenticeship Commencements (BAC) Initiative

Are you an employer in the Aged Care or Disability sector?

You might have heard that there are initiatives out there to boost the number of apprentices or trainees in your industry. Good news, in this blog article, you’ll find everything you need to know when it comes to the Australian Government’s Boosting Apprenticeship Commencement (BAC) initiative.

What is the BAC initiative?

During the COVID-19 pandemic, the Morrison Government introduced the Boosting Apprenticeship Commencement programme to increase apprenticeships and traineeships across the nation while offering wage subsidy support to employers. The purpose of the initiative is to build a pipeline of skilled workers to support sustained economic recovery.

So where do traineeships come in? We get it. The title of the initiative can be confusing. The term ‘Australian Apprenticeship’ covers both traineeships and apprenticeships – both programs are virtually identical; They are both are competency-based training opportunities, with the key difference being the study areas on offer. For example, an apprenticeship can be completed in areas such as building and construction, hospitality or automotive, whereas traineeships are available in services such as childcare, healthcare or telecommunications.

Who is eligible for the subsidy?

If you’re an Australian employer, regardless of size/industry/location, you could be eligible, provided you meet the below:

  • Engage an Australian Apprentice (remember the above definition) between October 5th, 2020, and March 31st, 2022.
  • The above-mentioned Australian Apprentice is undertaking a Certificate II or higher qualification.
  • The Training Contract for the above Australian Apprentice is formally approved by the relevant State Training Authority.

What you need to know

So, you’re reading along, nodding your head, and thinking, ‘this could really help us’ – great news! Here are a few extra things to consider.

  • The subsidy will cover 50% of the Australian Apprentices gross wages up to $14,000 per quarter, provided they were signed into a Training Contract between October 5th, 2020, and March 31st, 2022. It applies to wages paid to an Australian Apprentice with a maximum rebate of $7,000 per quarter for a maximum period of 12 months from commencement or recommencement.
  • The payments are made quarterly in arrears. All final claims must be submitted by June 30th, 2023.
  • Traineeships are available in Telecommunications, Aged Care, and Individual Support.
  • An existing worker is eligible for the BAC initiative provided one of the below factors apply

– they commence a trade based Australian Apprenticeship
– they transfer from casual employment to part-time or full-time Australian Apprenticeship, or; they transfer from part-time employment to full-time Australian Apprenticeship.

  • The subsidy is not available to Employers who are already claiming other subsidies, such as the Supporting Apprentices and Trainees (SAT) or JobKeeper.
  • Businesses may be eligible for additional financial incentives from the Australian Government when signing on an Australian Apprenticeship. This can be discussed with an Australian Apprenticeship Support Network (AASN).

How to apply

If you’re still reading, chances are, you recognise the great opportunity available for your organisation.

Here’s what we recommend next.

  1. Book an appointment with our Business Development Managers to discuss the options available for your employees by completing this form.  Even better, we’ll come directly to you and arrange for an Australian Apprenticeship Support Network (AASN) organisation to join us and discuss federal funding.
  2. If you already work with an Australian Apprenticeship Support Network (AASN), you can contact them directly and advise them that we are your RTO of choice.

To find out more information about the BAC initiative, you can visit the Australian Government’s webpage here.

JobTrainer Explained

JobTrainer Explained

Last year, the Australian government announced a $2 billion skills package it dubbed JobTrainer. This follows on from the JobKeeper wage subsidy program; JobSeeker, and JobMaker.

The JobTrainer package has two elements to it. The first part is aimed at keeping people already in
apprenticeships and traineeships employed and continuing their education. The second part is aimed at school leavers and people looking for work.

Keeping Apprentices and Trainees Employed

The $1.5 billion from the Australian Government that will be used to subsidise the wages of currently employed apprentices and trainees is an extension of an existing program called Supporting Apprentices and Trainees.

This subsidy covers half the wage eligible employers pay apprentices and trainees, up to $7,000 a quarter
($28,000 a year). Importantly, employers are not required to demonstrate a reduction in turnover to qualify.

There is a cut-off criteria according to an organisation’s size, with this limit being 200 employees.

The federal government estimates this will support approximately 180,000 apprentices and trainees.

Vocational education and training

The second part of JobTrainer will support over 300,000 free or low-cost course places.

Funding will prioritise courses the National Skills Commission has identified to as likely to see job growth. Examples of this include health care and social assistance, and warehousing

Many of these training places are likely to be shorter courses, known as skills sets, which are parts of full

These skills sets can provide students entry into new industries and pathways to full qualifications which may be available for additional subsidies.

Is there anything that isn’t covered?

JobTrainer doesn’t provide any additional incentives to recruit new apprentices or trainees.

However it is crucial for Australian business to continue recruiting and supporting apprentices and trainees. Almost 12 per cent of all school leavers start an apprenticeship or traineeship as their entry into the workforce. Not making this successful transition correlates with poorer long term employment outcomes including unemployment, health issues and lower paid work.

A lack of new apprenticeships also impacts the number of skilled workers in industry. If an apprenticeship takes 4 years to complete, there will be fewer qualified workers in 4 years, compared to now. If this figure continues to drop then entire industries face chronic skill shortages.

Whilst JobTrainer isn’t a comprehensive, long term solution it does provide welcome assistance to employers and industry during a difficult period.