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Apprentice wages have come under scrutiny following a report that an apprentice wage is only marginally above the dole, putting trainees below the poverty line. The survey, undertaken by Group Training Australia, shows first-year apprentices could not afford an adequate living standard unless their award provided them generous allowances.

Federal Vocational and Further Education Minister Andrew Robb says assistance measures aim to ease the burden of apprentices. “We have introduced a number of incentives to increase the take-home pay of apprentices, which will mean young men and women will be better placed to pursue a career in the trades," he stated.
Measures include:

  • • a tax-free payment of up to $1,000 per year for apprentices under 30
  • a $13,000 wage subsidy for mature age apprentices
  • an $800 toolkit allowance
  • up to $500 worth of training vouchers for trades in short supply
  • employer incentives of up to $4,000
  • trade scholarships worth $1,000 for apprentices in small to medium businesses

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