Liberal Party | 25 August 2013
The Coalition has promised to establish Trade Support Loans from 1 July next year to provide apprentices with interest free loans of up to $20,000 over four years. The loans will be capped at a total of $20,000 and will be repaid at the same thresholds as loans for university students. The policy is slated to cost $85 million to the federal budget four years.
They will be available to apprentices training for a Certificate III or IV qualification that leads to an occupation on the National Skills Needs List, which includes nearly 70 trades.
Those who complete their training will receive a 20% discount on the loan.
The Coalition says completion rates for apprentices is currently 48%.
Opposition Leader Tony Abbott says:
I want young Australians to be equipped with the skills they need to secure their long-term job prospects in a dynamic economy. This is about helping Australians start an apprenticeship, stay in an apprenticeship and, importantly, to complete an apprenticeship.
The Labor government established an $80 million program two years ago, the Australian Apprenticeships Mentoring Package, to fund industry associations, businesses and employment agencies to help trainees complete their apprenticeship. That program runs out next financial year.
The loans will be made available in addition to the current Commonwealth Tools For Your Trade incentive scheme, which provides eligible apprentices with a non-repayable tax free grant of up to $5500 over the term of an apprenticeship, according to a Coalition spokesperson.