The Federal Government has announced the extension of the apprenticeship wage subsidy program: Boosting Apprenticeship Commencements, better knowns as the BAC Program.

The program provides a 12-month wage subsidy of 50 per cent of the commencing or recommencing apprentice or trainee’s wages for a maximum of $7,000 per quarter. The program was announced in 2020 and was limited to 100,000 apprentices or trainees. A quick take-up by employers across the country meant that places were running out and the program was expected to reach capacity in March.

To apply for the subsidy and find an apprentice or trainee, take advantage of the Victorian Chamber’s free apprenticeship services to assist your business.

The Government’s announcement removes the cap and extends the program to September 2021.

Employers of any size, or industry, Australia-wide who taken on an apprentice or trainee between 5 October 2020 and 30 September 2021 may be eligible under this program. Employers that use a Group Training Organisations to hire their apprentice or trainee are also eligible for the subsidy.

The claiming period has been extended to 12 months from the date of commencement and this has been applied retrospectively. For example, this means that those employers that signed up apprentices or trainees in January, may have missed out on one quarter of wage subsidy, but now they will receive it up until 12 months.

There are no limits to the number of wage subsidies a business can apply for if the apprentice or trainee is a new worker.

Businesses that put existing workers through an apprenticeship or traineeship will be eligible for the subsidy, however there is limit of 30 existing worker commencements and a requirement that an existing worker transfers from a casual employment arrangement to either a part-time or full-time Australian Apprenticeship; or an existing worker transfers from a part-time employment arrangement to a full-time Australian Apprenticeship.

The Victorian Chamber has been advocating for an extension of this program and extra support to boost the commencement and completion rates of Victorian apprentices and trainees. During the peak of the pandemic in 2020, we saw a 50 per cent decline in new apprentices and trainees in our state. If that trend was allowed to continue it would have had a devastating impact on young people and the sectors which rely on apprentices and trainees to be the workforce of the future.

You can read more on the extension of the program here.