In 2021 Construction Training Fund (CTF) launched the Mature Age Wage Gap (MAWG) subsidy as a pilot program to help offset the extra costs employers may incur when hiring an apprentice or trainee over the age of 21. The subsidy covers the gap between the Award base rates for mature age apprentices (over the age of 21) and the Award base rates for junior apprentices.
Mature age apprentices bring experience, skills and wisdom to a construction job, which can be of great benefit to an employer. To date the MAWG subsidy has assisted employers in the construction industry to add more than 150 mature-age apprentices to the workforce.
On July 1, 2022, CTF expanded the program by another 150 apprentices across metropolitan and regional areas. There will be 130 places for approved trades with an additional 20 places available to the electrical trade through Electrical Group Training, for female and/or indigenous mature age candidates.
CTF will pay an approved employer the gap in wages between the current relevant State or Federal Award for mature-age and junior apprentices, exclusive of overtime and other allowances, leave and superannuation costs, for the period the apprentice remains actively employed in a training contract registered with the Department of Training and Workforce Development (DTWD).
The amount paid to an eligible employer will be adjusted based on the anniversary date of the apprentice’s commencement date and the annual wage-gap difference between mature-age and junior rates.
Trades eligible to apply for the MAWG are:
- Brick and block laying
- Carpentry/carpentry and joinery
- Painting and decorating
- Plumbing and gas fitting
- Roof plumbing
- Wall and ceiling fixing
- Wall and floor tiling
- Civil Construction includes:
- Trenchless Technology
- Bituminous Surfacing
- Bridge Construction and Maintenance
- Civil Construction
- Road Construction and Maintenance
- Road Marking
- Tunnel Construction
- Plant Operations
Apprentice/trainee must be employed through a Group Training Organisation (GTO) or by a direct employer who has successfully trained an apprentice and/or a trainee in the past 5 years.
Apprentice/trainee must be aged 21 years or older upon commencement of the training contract.
The MAWG subsidy is only available for apprentices/trainees commencing a new construction apprenticeship after 1 July 2022 and cannot have commenced the same construction apprenticeship before (including termination in probation).
Not available for Civil apprentices converting from a traineeship, apprentices must have commenced a new apprenticeship contract on or after 1 July 2022.
Electrical Group Training apprentices must be either female and/or indigenous.
Employer must have had an apprentice or trainee successfully complete their training within the past five (5) years.
A maximum of three (3) apprentices will be funded per employer.
Group Training Organisation Eligibility
GTO must have had an apprentice or trainee successfully complete within the past five (5) years - except for civil construction apprentices.
Maximum of ten (10) apprentices will be funded per GTO.
GTOs must not already be receiving funding for the apprentice/trainee from DTWD as part of the GTO 300.
Electrical, Plumbing and gas fitting - 48 months
Concreting – 24 months
All other trades - 36 months
GTOs and Employers should engage with CTF for pre-approval before completing the apprenticeship sign up with an AASN. This is to ensure that all parties confirm eligibility and parameters of the program including:
- The apprentice is the correct age
- The contract is for an eligible trade apprenticeship
- The contract term is of the correct duration at sign up (i.e., 36 months, except for plumbing and gas fitting, and concreting)
- In the case of a GTO, the apprentice is not funded by the DTWD GTO 300 program
Employers who request access to the program after signing an apprenticeship contract can be considered if all eligibility criteria of the employer and apprentice are met, and they convert the apprenticeship contract to a 36-month term if not already a 36-month term (except for plumbing and gas fitting and concreting). This can only occur up to a maximum of 12 months from contract sign up date (due to applications closing 30 June 2023, and eligibility commencing 1 July 2022).
Employers will be required to confirm that they will be requested to participate in program evaluation surveys or stakeholder meetings, and they will also be required to acknowledge that by submitting an application, CTF will verify their claims through the WAAMS portal.
The MAWG is paid for 2-3 years depending on the wage gap. Some awards do not have a gap in wages between a junior and mature age apprentice in the third year.
The subsidy is attached to an apprentice. It is not transferrable to another apprentice of the same employer.
No, allocated places cannot be backfilled.
What happens if the apprentice changes employment and moves to another employer?
Payment will be ceased from the date that the apprenticeship contract is suspended or cancelled. It may also cease if/when the apprentice successfully completes the training contract ahead of the nominal term
Yes, the subsidy is paid on top of other eligible grant payments.
You can apply here, or call CTF on (08) 9244 0100
Mature Age Wage Gap FAQ's
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