VACC Helpline

  • Free Automotive Apprenticeship Help / Advice & Signup Service
  • Workrights Visa Checking Service VEVO (Dept of Home Affairs) 
  • AutoCareers – free job advertising service for VACC and TACC members

For assistance contact:
03 9829 1133 (9am – 5pm Monday – Friday)

Service Descriptions:

1. ‚ÄčFree Automotive apprenticeship help and advice service for Melbourne and Victoria. Incentives, probationary periods, cancellations, reduced time, how to change your Training Provider, suspension of the apprenticeship due to a number of reasons and more. Call or email if you need some advice.
2. Free service to sign up your new apprentice into a training contract via an Apprenticeship Network Provider –  Contact needs to be made within 14 days from the start date. (The three month probationary period is included in the Training Contract and not separate from it). 
03 9829 1133 (9am – 5pm Monday – Friday)

3. Workrights visa checking service  VEVO (Dept of Home Affairs) (need applicant's permission). If you employ a  person who is not a Permanent Resident or Australian Citizen, ensure you have evidence of their work rights. Call or email and provide passport number, country, name and date of birth. (you can create an account and have your own access to VEVO to check work rights)
The Dept of Home Affairs can do spot checks and may visit your business without notice. Fines may be over $20,000 for employing illegal persons or breaching work limitations.

4. AutoCareers - Free job advertising service for VACC and TACC members wishing to advertise vacancies for apprentices, qualified persons, admin staff, management for automotive. Click on the 'Post a Job' icon and create your advert. We will check it and submit it onto the website for you.
03 9829 1133 (9am – 5pm Monday – Friday)


Apprenticeship Information – Automotive

You can download most Apprenticeship related forms here from the Victorian Registration & Qualifications Authority:

14 Day Ruling - From start date of Apprenticeship  If an apprentice has started or recommenced an apprenticeship with an employer, a Training Contract needs to be completed with assistance from an Apprenticeship Network Provider (ANP). Contact needs to be made with an ANP within 14 days from the start date. They will then book an appointment to come out and complete a Training Contract. All ANP services are free. We can streamline this process for you. 
03 9829 1133

Note: If an employer decides to trial a person with the intention of putting them into an apprenticeship and should things not work out between either party and no Training Contract is completed, the employer will need to back pay appropriate non-apprentice pay rates for time worked. 
Contact VACC Industrial Relations or Fairwork for appropriate pay rates: 03 9829 1123 or Fair Work Info Line: 13 13 94.

Three Month Probationary Period (inclusive to the Training Contract)  The three month probationary period is included in the Training Contract for apprenticeships. This allows the employer to pay apprenticeship pay rates and it allows the apprentice to accumulate time completed towards their apprenticeship.

During the probationary period, either party may terminate the Training Contract giving one week's notice without any repercussions from the other party. Only one cancellation form is required, either from the apprentice or employer to be lodged to the Apprenticeship Network Provider to terminate the apprenticeship. 

Cancellation forms – (after three month probationary period). For apprenticeships, there are two forms (Apprentice and Employer cancellation forms). These forms should be used after the written warning process has been instigated and there has been no improvement with the situation at hand. Both parties need to come to an agreement on the cancellation date and appropriate notice given.

If an agreement can't be made to cancel the apprenticeship, speak to an Authorised Officer from VRQA P: 1300 722 603. Otherwise, call your Apprenticeship Network Provider. 

There are grounds for instant dismissal. e.g Workplace theft, workplace intoxication, workplace violence. Speak to VACC Industrial Relations or Fairwork before acting.
03 9829 1123
Fair Work Info Line: 13 13 94

Automotive Apprentice Pay Rates  Apprenticeship pay rates can only be paid if an Apprenticeship Training Contract has been completed (by an employer and apprentice) with help from an Apprenticeship Network Provider to register the apprenticeship with the State Training Authority (VRQA).  

Pay Rates for Apprentices (under 21 at start date)  Applies to automotive apprentices who started their automotive apprenticeship under 21 years of age at the initial commencement date of their apprenticeship. Evidence of completion of VCE or VCAL Yr 12 needs to be sighted by the employer for the apprentice to receive the higher rate. If the apprentice starts the apprenticeship under the age of 21, they stay on the standard rates for the full term of the apprenticeship (even when they turn 21 during the apprenticeship). This also applies for recommencing apprentices who have changed employers and continue in the same apprenticeship.

      1st Year Standard Automotive Apprentice
      No Year 12 Pass - 50% (of qualified rate)
      Year 12 Pass - 55% (of qualified rate)
      Fair Work Australia: (Vehicle Repair, Services & Retail Award 2020:  MA000089)
      2nd Year Standard Automotive Apprentices
      No Year 12 Pass - 60% (of qualified rate) 
      Year 12 Pass -  65% (of qualified rate)

      Fair Work Australia: (Vehicle Repair, Services & Retail Award 2020: MA000089)

Adult Apprentice Pay Rates (21 or above at start date)  Adult Apprenticeship Pay Rates are paid if the apprentice starts the apprenticeship at the age of 21 or above. Fair Work Australia: (Vehicle Repair, Services & Retail Award 2020:  MA000089)

Contacts to Find out appropriate Automotive Apprentice Pay Rates:
VACC Apprenticeship Helpline (free service) 03 9829 1133  VACC members 03 9829 1123
FairWork Info Line: 13 13 94
Fair Work Australia: (Vehicle Repair, Services & Retail Award 2020:  MA000089)

Apprenticeship Forms

Suspension Form – used for shortage of work, Illness, Travel Overseas, Injury related to work, Injury not related to work, Maternity Leave.  Puts the apprenticeship on hold for the agreed specified duration and re-adjusts the completion date. Both parties need to be in agreement to action a suspension. You can have the suspension  form emailed to you via your Apprenticeship Network Provider.
03 9829 1133

Variation to the Training Contract  Form – Used to change Contract Details eg: Extension of completion date, Change of TAFE (RTO), Change of Attendance Type e.g part-time school-based to full-time, Change of Apprentice Name + evidence, Change of Qualification. You can have the variation form emailed to you by your Apprenticeship Network Provider.
03 9829 1123

Bought an Existing Business with Apprentices When a business is sold, the new owner takes over the apprentices in that business. Contact needs to be made with the Apprenticeship Network Provider to update apprenticeship details with legal and trading names, ABN, contacts, etc.  Apprentices are classed as an asset and move across with the sale of the business. There is no additional probationary period with a change of ownership. Once this is completed the new employer will be the one eligible for any available employer incentives from the date of business takeover.
Find your Apprenticeship Network Provider: Australian Apprenticeship Support Network provider.

Re-issue of your lost Trade Certificate

A trade paper is a certificate issued by the Victorian Registration & Qualifications Authority (VRQA) that recognises the completion of an apprenticeship. To apply for a trade paper, complete an application through an online portal. To learn more and access the portal, see:

If you have any questions, please contact the VRQA :  
1300 722 603  (option 6)

Competency-Based Training

Setting up the Training Plan  and Training Record Book

Once a Training Contract has been completed and registered on the apprenticeship system, your chosen Registered Training Organisation (RTO)  (e.g TAFE, Training Provider) should contact you to organise a Negotiated Training Plan and Evidence Record Book. (after approx one month). 

The Negotiated Training Plan  (NTP) is an overview of the four levels of training (on and off the job) required for the apprenticeship.  You can have an input on selecting relevant elective modules to suit your business activities in the NTP.

Training Record Book (Evidence Book)  The (TRB) is set up and aligned to the NTP and used to keep track of the apprentice's progression through the apprenticeship. Some times the TRB might be an electronic document instead of a hard copy folder.

The employer confirms via the Training Provider on-the-job completion of a module once the apprentice becomes competent in that module. This may take several attempts of on-the-job training. The Training Provider confirms off-the-job completion of that module. At that stage, that module will be signed off as competent in the TRB.  This might be actioned via a phone call or visit from your Training Provider.  As a rule of thumb, you should find out what your apprentice has studied for that week and then try and consolidate it in the workplace as soon as a relevant job comes up. Also you should ask for progress reports from your Training Provider a few times a year so you are aware of what level your apprentice is progressing at in their training. 

How to Work Out Apprentice Pay Increases 

When an apprentice completes a level of training, (being both on-the-job and off-the-job) they may be eligible for a pay rise. The employer is in charge of confirming on-the-job completion of units. The Training Provider confirms off-the-job completion of units and is also supposed to liaise with the employer to confirm on-the-job completion of units from the employer.
If the date of progression provided by the Training Provider is less than the nominal 12 month anniversary date, the apprentice will receive a pay rise on that progression date (early). Otherwise each 12 month's of employment duration is used for the pay rise as a safety net, being time completed in the workplace, regardless of not completing that level of training.
e.g. If an apprentice has served two years of time but has only finished his 1st level of training, they will still receive a pay rise to 3rd level pay rates regardless of being behind in schooling. The old time based system is the safety net provided there are no mitigating circumstances (e.g.suspended due to injury or shortage of work).

Taking on an Out-of-Trade Apprentice – (Recommencing)

Out-of-Trade Apprentices  Starting with Another Employer - Anniversary Dates – If an apprentice has completed time with a previous employer and recommences with you, the start date (with your business) cannot be used  to calculate anniversary dates. This is because you do not know how long a break there has been between Training Contracts which will effect anniversary dates.
Once you have them signed up into a Training Contract and you receive confirmation from the VRQA (State Training Authority) of the apprenticeship, you can then use the completion date and calculate backwards 12 months at a time to find anniversary dates (as a safety net). 

Also check with your Training Provider (e.g TAFE) on the date your apprentice finishes a level. If that date is less than the 12 month anniversary date, your apprentice will receive their pay increment early. If the date is after the anniversary date your apprentice will still receive the pay increment on the anniversary date (as a safety net) regardless of being behind at TAFE.  
03 9829 1133

Completion of Apprenticeship

Once the Training Record Book (Evidence Record Book) has been completed, your Training Provider (eg.TAFE ) should request employer written and signed confirmation that the apprentice is working at a qualified standard. Upon receipt of Employer Evidence (usually the last page of the NTP signed and dated by the employer verifying completion date), they will advise the State Training Authority (VRQA) of completion of the apprenticeship. If in doubt, contact your Training Provider (e.g TAFE) who is supposed to keep in touch with you several times each year up until completion is reached.

Reduction of Time – Completion can be less than 4 years, so be alert when communicating with your Training Provider. If you feel the apprentice needs more time in the workplace, advice your Training Provider accordingly. You only verify completion to the Training Provider when you know the apprentice has reached a suitable standard in the workplace and you deem the apprentice competent. Then you can sign them off as qualified. Not beforehand. 

Extension of Time – If the four year duration is reached and the apprentice needs more time to complete, a Variation Form can be used to extend the time – contact your Apprenticeship Network Provider. The apprentice then continues on 4th year pay rates during the extended time. Once competent notify your Training Provider of the completion date. The Training Provider will request employer evidence. They will then submit the evidence to the VRQA to complete the apprenticeship on the given date.

Employer Incentives – apprenticeship start dates on or after (1/7/2022) – new incentive system starts

Priority Wage Subsidy: Wage subsidy for employers of Australian Apprentices in occupations on the Priority List. For employers of new or recommencing Australian Apprentices undertaking a Certificate III or higher qualification in a Priority Occupation on the Australian Apprenticeships Priority List.

  • 10 per cent of wages for first and second year apprentices (up to $1,500 per quarter) and five per cent of wages for the third year apprentices (up to $750 per quarter).

Hiring Incentive: for employers of Australian Apprentices in an occupation not listed on the Priority List

  • $3,500 paid in two equal six-monthly instalments ($1,750 each).

Employer Incentives – apprenticeship start dates before (1/7/2022) – previous incentive system continues

$4000 Employer incentives - Federal Govt - ($1500 commencement & $2500 completion incentive). Note: recommencement incentive is only $750 for apprentices from previous employers. Note: These are only the basic incentives. Click on the below link for further details on all available Federal Govt Apprenticeship Incentives.
03 9829 11333

$4000 Additional Identified Skills Shortage Payment 

From 1 July 2019, an Additional Identified Skills Shortage (AISS) payment will be available to eligible apprentices and their employers, in occupations experiencing national skill shortages. The AISS payment targets new workers to grow the number of apprentices in the system and encourage more people to take up an Australian Apprenticeship, particularly school leavers and young people. 
How much will be available for apprentices and employers?  Eligible apprentices will receive $1,000 at the 12 month point from commencing their apprenticeship and an additional $1,000 after completing their apprenticeship. 
Eligible employers will also receive $2,000 at the 12 month point from the commencement of the apprenticeship and an additional $2,000 at completion of the apprenticeship.
These payments are additional to any payments the apprentice or employer may be eligible for under existing Australian Government programs, including Trade Support Loans to the apprentice and standard employer incentives from the Australian Apprenticeships Incentives Program, worth approx $4000 over the life of the apprenticeship to eligible employers.

$4000 Employer Payment Support for Adult Australian Apprentices  Wage Subsidy – Adult apprentices (21 year old) entering a skills shortage trade. Assessment for eligibility is compared against the National Minimum Wage - Fair Work Australia.

An employer may be eligible to receive a $4000 one-off-payment at the 12 month point, if the apprentice pay rate is equivalent to or above the National Minimum Wage.
Note: (This is not the same rate as The Vehicle RS&R Award 2020). Check the Fairwork website for the correct  payrate required, to be eligible to receive this subsidy. (it is much higher than the Vehicle RS&R Award 2020 for 1st Yr Adults) (National Minimum Wage link – click and scroll down) (Vehicle Repair, Services & Retail Award 2020 – MA000089)

$21,000 Disabled Apprentice Wage Support – approx $103/wk wage subsidy & help with tuition at TAFE. 
13 38 73

Up to $10,000  Wage Subsidy through JobActive – for employing eligible Job Seekers registered with a Jobactive Provider (within the first six months), if you take on a new employee (or apprentice), that meets the criteria. (see below link)
13 17 15 (to find your local Jobactive Provider) 

Payroll tax checklist of taxable or exempt items (Recommencing Apprentices)

If you recommence an out-of-trade apprentice who has completed time with another employer, you may be eligible for payroll tax exemption for that apprentice. View link to the State Revenue Office listings:

Apprentice Incentives (Certificate 3)

$5000 Australian Apprentice Training Support Payment (for starts on or after 1/7/2022)
Direct financial assistance for Australian Apprentices undertaking a Certificate III or higher qualification in a Priority Occupation on the Australian Apprenticeships Priority List to support them to complete their training.
$1,250 every six months over the first two years of the Australian Apprenticeship (up to $5,000 in total).

$21,779 Trade Support Loan – for apprentices in skills shortage trades. If you complete the apprenticeship – receive a 20 per cent reduction off the loan. Re-payments start via Tax Office once your income reaches a particular level. Contact your Apprenticeship Network Provider or call.
13 38 73

$7300 Living Away From Home Allowance – approx ($77/wk 1st year, $38/wk 2nd year, $25/wk 3rd year)
13 38 73

Youth Allowance – available to apprenticeships and traineeships – (Dept of Human Services)
13 36 33

Low Income Health Care Card – for discounts, eg – TAFE fees, Bills, Medical, Travel - Centrelink
13 36 33

Travel Payment: for apprentices required to attend block release training relating to their apprenticeship where they have to stay away from their home overnight. Employer to pay for travel costs of reasonable transportation (to TAFE & returning Home only). (e.g cost of the Train Ticket if using public transport) This may also include meal costs which exceed those incurred travelling to and from work (e.g. dinner if in-transit returning home on the last evening of TAFE. 
03 9829 1133 (VACC Helpline)

TAFE Fees – Fees paid by an apprentice for the purpose of the apprenticeship, shall be reimbursed by the employer within six months from the start date, or three months from the start of training (e.g TAFE), whichever is the later (unless there is unsatisfactory progress )
A classic example of unsatisfactory progress would be a situation where the apprentice is not showing up for work or TAFE on a regular basis and shows lack of interest in learning the trade. 
If the apprentice is a slow learner and is trying to make an effort to learn the trade and keeps regular attendance, (this will not be classed as unsatisfactory progress). The employer will have to reimburse fees paid.

03 9829 1123  (For VACC Members only)
03 9829 1133 (VACC Helpline for all other persons)
13 13 94  (Fairwork for all other persons) 

Discounted Car Registration Vic Roads  In July 2018 the Victorian Registration and Qualifications Authority in conjunction with Vic Roads announced extending  discounted Car Registration to Trade Apprentices.

To be eligible for this discount you need to meet one of the following criteria:

  • You regularly use your own car, ute or van to get to and from work between the hours (8.30pm – 5.30am)  
  • You use your own car, ute or van for approved work purposes.

To help with your application you will need to:

  • Hold a current Victorian Driver's Licence (not a Learner's permit)
  • Have your active Apprenticeship Registration Number (on the VRQA letter you received when you started your apprenticeship)
  • Have received your vehicle registration renewal
  • Ensure your car is registered in your name.
Vic Roads may also request employer confirmation that you use your car for work purposes or for the unusual hours (suitable for Baker's Apprentices), so before applying ensure your employer will support you.
13 11 71