The Australian Government introduced the Trade Support Loan program in 2014 to encourage more young people to take up a trade and complete their qualification. By doing so it also benefits businesses wanting to employ apprentices.
What is a Trade Support Loan?
Apprentices and trainees studying (Cert III or IV qualification) to work in skills needs occupations (see below) may be eligible for a loan of up to $20,420 to help them cover the costs of living and learning.
The loans are interest free but indexed annually with the consumer price index. They are paid monthly.
Existing apprentices can opt-in for a loan in line with the year of your apprenticeship.
You’ll get a 20% discount on your loan when you successfully complete your apprenticeship.
You choose how to spend the money. It might be work tools, a vehicle or to help with living expenses.
How much can I borrow?
You can opt-in and out of the loan at any time and can borrow a small amount, say $1000, or take the full $20,420 over four years.
Payments have annual limits of:
- $8,168 in year one
- $6,126 in year two
- $4,084 in year three
- $2,042 in year four
How do I get a Trade Support Loan?
To opt-in for a Trade Support Loan or for more information talk to your local Apprenticeship Network Provider.
How do I pay the loan back?
You will only start repaying your loan when you’re earning a sustainable income ($55,874 for 2017-18). Repayments are made through the tax system (like a university HELP loan). If you notify your employer they can make repayments automatically.
Is my area of study eligible?
If you are studying in an area that leads to an occupation in the Trade Support Loans Priority List you may be eligible for a Trade Support Loan. Construction occupations on the list include: bricklayer, carpenter, fibrous plasterer, floor finisher, joiner, painting trades worker, plumber (general, roof), solid plasterer, tiler (roof, wall and floor). For the full list see Trade Support Loans Priority List.
For more information on hiring or becoming an apprentice: