Small business owners who take on apprentices in 10 in-demand occupations may receive payments of up to $4,000 per employee.

As of July 1, employers may receive up to $4,000, and apprentices up to $2,000, under the Additional Identified Skills Shortage (AISS) scheme, which was unveiled in this year’s federal budget.

The apprentices must work in one of 10 occupations where national skills shortages have been identified:

  • Arborists
  • Air-conditioning and refrigeration mechanics
  • Bakers and pastry cooks
  • Bricklayers and stonemasons
  • Carpenters and joiners
  • Hairdressers
  • Plasterers
  • Plumbers
  • Vehicle painters
  • Wall and floor tilers

The aim of the AISS scheme is to address skills shortages in important industries and help more Australians take up apprenticeships.

Small business minister Michaelia Cash said the new scheme would help create and support up to 80,000 new apprenticeships over five years.

“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.

Small businesses can apply for another apprenticeship scheme

Meanwhile, small businesses can also now apply for phase two of the Australian Apprentice Wage Subsidy trial.

The trial incentivises small businesses to hire apprentices, by paying them:

  • 75% of the first year award wage
  • 50% of the second year award wage 
  • 25% of the third year award wage

Small businesses may be eligible to apply if:

  • They’re located in rural and regional Australia
  • They employ an extra apprentice undertaking a full-time Certificate III or IV qualification
  • That qualification leads to an occupation on the National Skills Needs List