Trade Support Loans

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Did you know that as an apprentice or trainee you may be eligible for a Trade Support Loan of up to $20,000 to assist with the costs of living and learning?

What is a Trade Support Loan?

Apprentices and trainees working in skills need areas may be eligible for a loan of up to $20,000 to help them cover the costs of living and learning.

Trade Support Loans are flexible to meet your individual needs with payments hitting your nominated bank account every month.

As an additional incentive, you’ll get a 20% discount on your loan when you successfully complete your apprenticeship.

The loans are interest free but indexed annually with the consumer price index.

Who is eligible for Trade Support Loans?

To be eligible you must be an apprentice or trainee studying a Certificate III or IV qualification in an area that leads to an occupation on the Trade Support Loans Priority List.

Apprentices or trainees studying agriculture or horticulture (Certificate II, III or IV qualification) - noting ONLY horticulture students in regional and rural areas - may also be eligible for the loan.

Full-time, part-time and school based apprentices and trainees can access the loan.

Can existing apprentices get a Trade Support Loan?

Yes, apprentices are able to opt-in for a loan in line with the year of your apprenticeship.

How much can I borrow?

You have the choice of how much you borrow and what you spend your money on.

You can opt-in and out of the loan at any time and can borrow a small amount, say $1,000, or take the full $20,000 over four years.

The loan amounts are highest in the early years of training while your apprentice wages are lower.

Payments have annual limits of:

  • $8,000 in year one
  • $6,000 in year two
  • $4,000 in year three
  • $2,000 in year four

What can I spend the Trade Support Loan on?

It’s your loan so you choose how to spend the money – but remember you will have to pay the money back, so be smart with how you spend and what you spend the money on.

You could buy work gear like tools or boots, use the money to cover living expenses such as rent, phone bills and public transport, or even save up your payments to buy a second hand car or ute.

If you’re old enough to have a job, you’re old enough to manage a loan and the Australian Government believes this programme will encourage financial responsibility in eligible apprentices and trainees.

How do I pay the loan back?

You will only start repaying your loan when you’re earning a sustainable income of more than $50,000. Repayments are made through the tax system (like a university HELP loan). If you notify your employer they can make repayments automatically.

The amount you repay each year is a percentage of your income. The percentage increases as your income increases, so the more you earn, the higher your repayments will be. The Australian Taxation Office (ATO) will calculate your compulsory repayment for the year and include it on your income tax notice of assessment.

What are my responsibilities when taking out a Trade Support Loan?

Taking out a loan is a serious financial responsibility as it involves borrowing money and paying it back over time. Information to help you make a decision and identify the responsibilities involved in taking out a loan is available on the MoneySmart website. You are strongly encouraged to view the information on this website to ensure you are fully aware of your responsibilities.

Before you apply for a loan, it is advised that you consider your current circumstances to see exactly where your money goes now and how much you could afford in repayments if you were to meet the income repayment threshold. It is important to think about how your circumstances may change in the future, for example changing jobs or moving out of home. It is your responsibility to be aware of your obligations when taking on the loan and the requirement to pay it back.

How do I get a Trade Support Loan?

To find out more about applying for a Trade Support Loan, including finding out if you are eligible or to opt-in for a loan, contact MRAEL ACE Apprenticeships Centre. We will take you (and your parent or guardian, if you’re under 18) though the loan programme in detail and lodge the required paperwork.

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