Changes to apprentice incentives

5 JUNE 2024

On 3 May 2024, the Australian Government announced changes to the New Energy Apprenticeships Program (NEAP) to support more EV-ready apprentices.

The changes will assist the industry in preparing for the over two million EVs due on Australian roads by 2030.

Previously, businesses needed to show their apprentice trained a significant proportion of their time on an EV. Now they will only need to provide their apprentice with meaningful exposure, experience and work in EVs.

The changes began on 1 June 2024 for new apprentices only, with further information available from Australian Apprenticeships.

The announcement forms part of the government’s response to supporting the auto sector transition in the face of the imminent New Vehicle Efficiency Scheme (NVES) which is expected to speed up EV uptake.

The Motor Trades Association of Australia and VACC have advocated for a wide-ranging package of support for the past 12 months, so this announcement is a win for the retail auto sector.

The announcement complements the $60 million dealer and repairer charging fund announced in March 2024 and could form part of a suite of yet-to-be-announced further support measures.

How much funding is available?

Apprentice support: If eligible, an apprentice can receive up to $10,000 during their apprenticeship.

Employer support: Until 1 July 2024 an eligible business can receive a wage subsidy of:

  • 10 per cent of apprentice wages for the first 24 months (up to $1500 per quarter)
  • Five per cent of apprentice wages for the third 12-month period (up to $750 per quarter).

From 1 July 2024, the Australian Apprenticeship Incentive System will move to Phase 2.

New employers that engage an apprentice from 1 July 2024 can claim: 

  • Priority Hiring Incentive of up to $5,000 over one year in two installments of $2,000 at six months and $3,000 at 12 months.

What apprenticeships are eligible?

  • Automotive electrician
  • Fitter (general)
  • Fitter-welder
  • Metal fabricator
  • Metal machinist (first class)
  • Motor mechanic (general)
  • Sheetmetal trades worker
  • Small engine mechanic
  • Welder (first class)

Which businesses are eligible?

The business must show the following:

  • It engages and operates with the 'clean energy sector'; and
  • It will provide its apprentice with meaningful exposure experience, and work in the clean energy sector, appropriate to skill level and/or off-the-job.

What is the Clean Energy Sector?

While the government’s definition is wide-ranging, for automotive it entails:

  • installing and maintaining technology that uses clean energy rather than fossil fuels. This may include electrifying machines, equipment, processes, and vehicles. For example: Deploying and maintaining zero or low emissions vehicles and supporting infrastructure, including chargers.

What does 'experience' mean?

Access to education, instruction, training or industry knowledge of the clean energy sector, combined with a VET qualification specified on the Australian Apprenticeship Priority List.  

What does 'exposure' mean?

Access to a range of clean energy sector tools, technology, methods and worksites, including a demonstration by skilled tradespeople.

What does 'meaningful' mean?

Useful and relevant engagement that must develop the skills required to work in the clean energy sector after their apprenticeship and/or in the future. 

What does 'work' mean?

Undertake paid activities based on the occupation the apprentice undertakes in the clean energy sector.

What’s next?

If your business wants to access the New Energy Apprenticeships Program, contact VACC or your local AASN provider.


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