Taking your first step into an apprenticeship is exciting. Whether you are moving out of home for the first time or balancing a pre-apprenticeship with work, it will be an adventure full of new freedoms and responsibility. But how are you going to pay for the inevitable costs that come with it?
What will I have to pay for?
The good news is that you can earn while you learn while completing your apprenticeship! This means the training you receive, the work you complete with your employer and the tools and materials you use are all provided at no expense to you. On top of this your employer will even pay you a wage. However, this doesn’t necessarily mean that there won’t be costs attached to taking up an apprenticeship. So what are the main expenses you will likely need to pay for?
- Everyday living costs: This one is most dependent on your personal situation. For those who have left home, rent, food and travel are likely to be your biggest expenses.
- Trade school fees: Employers have to pay these fees eventually, but they may need you to make the initial payment to be reimbursed later. Your employer has a responsibility to discuss and arrange this with you.
- Work clothing and personal tools: Though some of these may be provided by your employer, personal necessities like good boots will be paid for by you.
Added all together these costs may seem daunting, but don’t worry! There are lots of ways to make ends meet. Let’s have a look at what financial support is available for apprentices:
1. Employer provided wages
As we mentioned before, your employer is legally obliged to provide you with wages for the duration of your apprenticeship. This will be your most reliable and ready way of paying your costs – so remember to manage it carefully!
Your employment contact (which may include an EBA) will specify exactly what your pay will be and when you will receive it. So you can plan ahead for things like rent payments and travel. The amount you get will depend on how long the apprenticeship is and how much training you have had previously and what is stated in your EBA.
Remember that your first year salary may be increased as you get more experienced.
2. Government subsidised training
To take the strain off employers and apprentices, some training providers in Victoria provide fully or partially funded courses. There are strict eligibility requirements so it’s not a guaranteed option, but if you think you may fit the criteria it’s worth applying.
For more information contact your training provider when you enroll and ask to apply for the Skills First Program.
3. Trade Loan support
The Trade Support Loan is available to all apprentices in Australia and can give you a way to support yourself over the course of your training.
The loan is paid out monthly and can total $20,420 (with a limit of $8,168 in your first year). You can take as much or as little as you need for your personal circumstances.
But remember – this is a loan which means you will eventually have to pay it back! You will start making repayments when you’re earning more than $55,874 a year and they will be made through the tax system.
4. Living away from Home allowance
If you are completing your apprenticeship while living away from home, then you are eligible for the Living Away from Home allowance. There is no age limit for this loan and it’s designed to help you out while living independently during your first three years of training.
To apply for this loan get in contact with your Australian Apprenticeship Support Network provider and they can give you with the application forms.
If you’re thinking of starting an apprenticeship and want to be part of a trade school that will support you all the way, get in contact with NECA Education & Careers.