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I applied for a Low Income Health Care card shortly after I started my apprenticeship. So far I have saved $1000 on TAFE fees, car registration, medical costs and going to the footy.1st Year Plumbing Apprentice

Each trade has minimum wages and conditions.

Regardless of the trade, you are entitled to:

  • Pay slips
  • Payment for overtime
  • Superannuation - your employer must pay a minimum of 9.5% of your gross earnings into your super fund
  • Choice of super fund - you can choose which super fund you want to belong to

Helpful Money Tips

As you know, your wage will increase throughout your apprenticeship. However, at the start money might also be tight.

Whatever the case, what you do with your money is up to you.

Here are some tips to help you save money.

1. Apply for a Low Income Health Care Card

If you earn under $531 (gross) per week (less than $4,248 over eight weeks), you should apply for a Low Income Health Care Card.

You can save money each year on your TAFE fees and save on your car registration, medical prescriptions and other costs. Simply apply at your local Centrelink office.

You will need eight weeks of pay slips (or a letter from your employer), some identification and a copy of a recent bank statement. Once you receive your card, you must reapply every six months. It is a little bit of work but you will save thousands of dollars.

For more information, go to

2. Complete a Tax Return

You will most likely receive a tax refund from the Australian Tax Office (ATO). Many apprentices go to their local tax agent to complete their tax return. It normally costs under $100 and this is tax deductible the following year.

3. Government Super Co-Contribution. Get free money!

If you put extra money into your superannuation fund, the Government will match 50 cents for every dollar you contribute, up to a maximum of $500 for the 2015-16 financial year.
As an apprentice, you may be able to get the super co-contribution from the Government if you meet the eligibility requirements, which include:

  • Making personal (after-tax) contributions to your super fund
  • Earning a total income of less than $50,454 for the 2015/16 financial year
  • Lodging an income tax return for the financial year
  • Supplying your Tax File Number to your super fund, if you haven’t already done so
  • Being a permanent resident of Australia

For more information:

4. Save

Here is an easy way to save $50,000! As a first year apprentice, open a separate bank account and deposit $20 weekly. Imagine you continue to save $20 a week and continue to do so until you reach thirty years of age.

If you leave the money in the account, by the time you reach your parents’ age (about 50), you will have over $50,000 in the account!

To help you figure out how to save $20 per week, we have included a budget calculator for you to complete. Click here to give it a go.

A budget can set you on the road to something special.

Government Payments

Trade Support Loans

Trade Support Loans are loans paid in installment totaling up to $20,000 over the life of an apprentice. These loans help Australian Apprentices with everyday costs while they complete their apprenticeship.

Trade Support Loans are available to Australian Apprentices undertaking a certificate III or IV level qualification leading to sertain priority trade occupations that currently appear on the National Skills Shortage List as well as a number of agriculture and horticulture qualifications at the certificate II, III or IV levels. For more information go to

Support for Adult Australian Apprentices initiative

Support for Adult Australian Apprentices is the direct payment to either an employer or the Australian Apprentice, where the Australian Apprentice is:

  • aged over 25 or over at the time they commence their Australian Apprenticeship; and
  • in a Certificate III or IV level qualification leading to an occupation listed on the National Skills Need List

The recipient of the payment is determined based on the actual wage paid to the Australian Apprentice. The payment is made directly into the recipient’s bank account

You are not required to pay tax on these payments.

The payments will be made if you commenced your apprenticeship after 21 July 2014. If you commenced your apprenticeship before this date, you need to speak to your local Australian Apprenticeship Centre.

For more information go to or call 13 38 73.

Living Away from Home Allowance

If you moved away from home no more than three months before the start of your apprenticeship, you may be eligible to receive a living away from home allowance. A first year apprentice may receive $77.17 per week in the first year, $38.59 per week in the second year and $25.00 per week in the third year.

You are not required to pay tax on these payments, which will be paid into your bank account.

To check on your eligibility, contact an Australian Apprenticeships Centre, go to or call
13 38 73.

Centrelink Payments

First year apprentices may also be eligible for Centrelink benefits, such as Youth Allowance, Austudy or Abstudy. This depends on your weekly wage.

For more information, go to or call
13 36 33.

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