Trade Support Loans to build a stronger Australia

Wednesday, 18 June 2014

In less than two weeks, Hinkler apprentices will be able to apply for loans of up to $20,000 to help them complete their trade.

Federal Member for Hinkler Keith Pitt said the Coalition Government was delivering on its commitment to introduce Trade Support Loans, in a scheme similar to HECS or HELP.

“About 50 per cent of young apprentices do not complete their training because they cannot afford the costs associated with undertaking an apprenticeship,” Mr Pitt said.

An electrician by trade, who completed his apprenticeship at Fairymead sugar mill, Mr Pitt said a diverse and skilled workforce was vital to having a strong economy.

“Not everyone wants to go to university, and I’m committed to making sure there are also opportunities for those people,” Mr Pitt said.

“There are currently 1,725 people undertaking an apprenticeship in Hinkler. Over the last five years, under Labor, employment growth in the technical and trades field was below average. I want to see the number of apprentices increase.”

Mr Pitt, who spoke extensively about the loans in Parliament this week, said apprentices who successfully completed their training would be rewarded.

“When an apprentice completes their training, 20 per cent of the loan (up to $4000) will be immediately deducted from the debt,” Mr Pitt said.

“The loans will only be repayable once apprentices earn more than $53,345 a year.

“These loans will provide real support for current apprentices to complete their skills training and provide a stronger incentive for young Australians to become apprentices.”

The Trade Support Loans will specifically target occupations on the National Skills Needs List such as plumbers, diesel mechanics, electricians and fitters.

The Trade Support Loans programme replaces the Tools For Your Trade payment. Under Labor, the payment had effectively become a hand-out that did little to help apprentices complete their training. The payment was only given in the later years, instead of when apprentices needed it most.

The Trade Support Loans program starts on July 1, and is part of the Government’s Economic Action Strategy to build a strong, prosperous economy.

Hinkler apprentices can borrow up to $20,000 over the entire period of their training, with more support provided during the initial years when it is needed most. They can borrow up to $8,000 in the first year of the apprenticeship, $6,000 in the second, $4,000 in the third and $2,000 in the fourth.

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Media contact: Larine Statham 0427 653 814