Apprenticeship Boost

Apprenticeship Boost

Last updated 25 March 2021
Last updated 25 March 2021

Apprenticeship Boost provides support for employers to retain and take on new apprentices as the economy recovers from the impacts of COVID-19. It aims to help apprentices to continue to earn and learn so they become skilled practitioners in their chosen industry.

The $380.6 million Apprenticeship Boost is part of the Government’s wider Apprenticeship Support Programme — a cross-agency response to help employers support their employees in formal training including apprenticeships, while dealing with the effects of COVID-19.

Employers of an apprentice in their first year of apprenticeship training will be eligible for $1,000 support per month, while employers of an apprentice in their second year are eligible for $500 per month for a maximum period of 24 months.

Apprenticeship Boost eligibility

To be eligible for the Apprenticeship Boost, an apprentice must have completed no more than 24 months in an approved apprenticeship through a transitional industry training organisation (ITO) or a provider.

New Zealand Apprenticeships and Managed Apprenticeships

Apprentices need to be enrolled in a TEC-approved New Zealand Apprenticeship or a TEC approved Managed Apprenticeship programme for their employer to be eligible for this support. Subsidy payments will be made to the employer of eligible apprentices, who must continue to pay at least the minimum or relevant training wage to their apprentice.

New Zealand Apprenticeships and Managed Apprenticeships both involve training consisting of 120 credits or more, leading to a qualification at level 4 on the New Zealand Qualifications Framework. Apprentices are in work and training in a field toward an occupation. Their training is governed by a tri-partite training agreement signed by the apprentice, the employer and the relevant tertiary education organisation. Both apprenticeship programmes are approved and funded by the TEC.

The main difference is that New Zealand Apprenticeships are arranged through transitional ITOs, while Managed Apprenticeships are arranged through Te Pūkenga (NZIST) subsidiaries and private training establishments (PTEs).

Enrolments in these apprenticeship programmes are specifically reported as apprenticeship enrolments to the TEC.

How to apply

Employers can apply for the Apprenticeship Boost subsidy through the Ministry of Social Development (MSD) from 5 August 2020. More information on the application process and criteria are available on the MSD’s Work and Income website.

Read more about the Financial boost for apprentices and their employers.

General FAQs

What is Apprenticeship Boost?

Apprenticeship Boost is a payment available through the Ministry of Social Development (MSD) to support employers of apprentices in their first or second year of training. Employers can receive up to 24 months of support with payments of $1,000 per month in apprentices’ first year, and $500 per month in their second year.

When will Apprenticeship Boost start?

Apprenticeship Boost will run for about 24 months starting in August 2020 to August 2022. Applications will open on 5 August through MSD’s Work and Income website.

What is the goal of the Apprenticeship Boost?

The goal of the Apprenticeship Boost is to help employers retain and bring on new apprentices as New Zealand recovers from the impacts of COVID-19. Specifically, it will help employers to keep first and second year apprentices employed and training towards their qualification. The Apprenticeship Boost will provide support to employers to meet the costs of retaining apprentices, or hiring new ones, in their first 24 months of their programme of study.

What is MSD’s role in this initiative?

The Ministry of Social Development (MSD) is responsible for the Apprenticeship Boost, and its key role is to receive employers’ applications, process them and make the payments.

What is TEC’s role in it?

The TEC will support MSD by verifying an employer’s eligibility and confirming the number of months of training the apprentice has completed.

What apprentices are eligible?

To be eligible the apprentice must be actively training towards a New Zealand Apprenticeship (through a transitional ITO) or a TEC approved Managed Apprenticeship through a provider. The apprentice must also not have completed more than 24 months study towards any apprenticeship.

Why aren’t other employers with different types of apprentices allowed to get the payments?

Support will be available to employers of first and second-year apprentices in all New Zealand Apprenticeships and TEC recognised Managed Apprenticeships. The payment targets these apprentices as they are earlier in their training pathway and therefore more likely to be vulnerable to redundancy during economic downturns.

FAQs for apprentices

How will my privacy be protected?

Your employer will request you sign a consent form before sharing any information with MSD. This consent form clearly outlines what information will be shared between MSD and TEC. MSD and TEC will share information to help determine if you are eligible for Apprenticeship Boost.  The information will be shared securely.

What should I do if I change employers?

Please make sure you let your transitional ITO or Provider know about any changes in employment status as soon as this occurs.

What should I do if I put my training on hold?

Please get your employer to notify MSD if you put your training on hold. It is also important to let your transitional ITO or provider know.

What should I do if I no longer want to do my apprenticeship?

Please get your employer to notify MSD if you withdraw from your training. It is also important to let your transitional ITO or provider know.

What should I do if I’m concerned about the payments I received from my employer?

The wages you receive are part of your agreement with your employer. If your employer is doing something that you think would make them ineligible for Apprenticeship Boost payments, please let MSD know by calling 0800 673 227 or emailing Apprenticeship_Boost@msd.govt.nz. Subsidy payments will be made to your employer who must continue to pay you the relevant minimum or training wage. Where an apprentice is not being paid the minimum wage or training wage, they should approach the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) to lodge a complaint with the Employment Inspectorate as this is a breach of employment law.

Will I receive Apprenticeship Boost payments directly?

Apprenticeship Boost payments will be paid directly to your employer.

Who/where should I send my questions to?

Please send your questions to customerservice@tec.govt.nz.

Information for TEOs

FAQs for all TEOs delivering apprenticeships

What will be the role of TEOs in Apprenticeship Boost?

There are a few things you can do that will support this process running smoothly:

  • Make sure all the data for apprenticeships that you provide to TEC is up-to-date and accurate so we can ensure that we can match with the data that employers submit to MSD
  • Process new enrolments for apprenticeship as promptly as possible
  • Help out where you can with enquiries from employers whose applications haven’t been successfully processed because the data they have submitted doesn’t match the data in TEC’s system

Where should I direct further questions from employers about the Apprenticeship Boost?

MSD are leading the Apprenticeship Boost programme and are the best contact point for employers.

Do I need to change the privacy statement on our training agreements as information is now being shared with MSD?

No. Employers will need to get their apprentices to sign a consent form as part of the application process. This will cover the changes in privacy arrangements and enable TEC and MSD to share information.

How will the Apprenticeship Boost affect other TEC funding paid to TEOs for apprenticeships?

Apprenticeship Boost won’t affect any other TEC funding TEOs are currently receiving from TEC. Apprenticeship Boost payments will be made directly by MSD to employers.

If an apprentice’s training is on hold, is their employer still entitled to the Apprenticeship Boost subsidy?

TEC will advise MSD when an apprentice’s enrolment is on hold. Payments will not be made when we have reported an apprentice as on hold.

Does an apprentice’s previous study or training impact their eligibility?

Yes possibly.

If an apprentice has been enrolled in another apprenticeship programme previously, this will count against their months of eligibility.

If the apprentice has enrolled in other vocational training that is not an apprenticeship this will not impact their eligibility.

How does previous study or training count against eligibility?

Every month will count where there is a record of an active apprenticeship enrolment on the last day of a month. “Active” means the enrolment is not on hold, or has been withdrawn or completed.

For providers of Managed Apprenticeships

Will I have to update the data we send to TEC more frequently?

There is a new monthly template for Workspace2 for providers that have been approved by TEC to deliver managed apprenticeships.  This needs to be completed fully and accurately, and submitted on time each month. Accurately listing the employer name is critical to the data matching, and the employers being paid as quickly as possible.

If I am a training provider who hasn’t offered Managed Apprenticeships in the past, can I start now?

No, at this point in time TEC does not want to see growth in Managed Apprenticeships. The reason is, that as the transition to RoVE occurs we:

a) do not want to complicate/confuse things for employers or apprentices, and

b) RoVE is about creating a collaborative vocational education system rather than one that is competitive. Our continued message is that it is business as usual, which means employers signing up apprentices with relevant transitional ITOs.

If I get more demand for delivering Managed Apprenticeships, can I deliver more EFTs than I previously indicated?

No, Apprenticeship Boost is about supporting your current apprentices, and not growing these. The reason is, that as the transition to RoVE occurs we

a) do not want to complicate/confuse things for employers or apprentices, and

b) RoVE is about creating a collaborative vocational education system rather than one that is competitive. Our continued message is that it is business as usual, which means employers signing up apprentices with relevant transitional ITOs.

 

Information for Transitional ITOs

Apprenticeship Boost runs smoothly when we all work together.

Apprenticeship Boost is a subsidy for employers of apprentices in their first 24 months of training and has been running since August 2020. This new initiative has seen the Ministry for Social Development (MSD) and the Tertiary Education Commission (TEC) working closely with key partners like transitional industry training organisations (ITOs). We really appreciate the work transitional ITOs have done to date and want to keep you informed about what is happening with Apprenticeship Boost.

Apprenticeship Boost has already made a big difference to your employers

Between the Apprenticeship Boost launch in August and 21 March 2021:

(a)      21,841 apprentices have been verified

(b)     10,023 employers have been paid

(c)      $102,605,625.00 has been paid out

We want apprentices to be retained in employment and training

We want the Apprenticeship Boost to reach employers who need it, so that apprentices are retained in training and employment. We encourage you to maximise opportunities to share information about the Apprenticeship Boost with your employers.

We also appreciate the application process requires employer effort. However this is critical to minimise potential misuse.

TEC’s role is to verify eligibility

Every evening a data file comes from MSD to TEC for verification. When all details match between the MSD application and the Industry Training Register (ITR) data verification is made and the payment process starts.

We check the majority of the Apprenticeship Boost applications automatically. The process is designed so that most applications are processed without manual intervention. For example the system automatically corrects the difference between Ltd and Limited.

However, there are some things computers reads differently to humans. Spacing and special characters (such as &) are good examples of this. We make manual adjustments only when we are confident the names are the same entity. These manual processes occur every 5-7 working days. Over time we aim to automate these processes.

Good data helps applications approve more quickly

The Apprenticeship Boost relies on good data provided by the employer in their MSD application and that recorded by transitional ITOs in the ITR.  Often we find the data is different and this slows down payments to employers. Key data incudes:

  • Apprentice Name and date-of-birth
    Please ensure the legal name of the apprentice is recorded and encourage employers to do the same in MSD applications. We often see abbreviated names that don’t match. We also see mismatches in the date of birth between applications and the ITR. These mismatches result in failed verification.
  • Employer name
    Employer name matching between the ITR and the MSD application is also critical.
    The MSD application records the legal name of the entity (verified by IRD) and the trading name. A training agreement should record the legal name (which can be checked against the Companies Office). Please note that including branch names in this field also causes matching problems.

We need a little help from you to update ITR data

On a regular basis we will supply you with a list of apprentices where the Apprenticeship Boost employer name does not match the ITR data. Initially these will be supplied through Workspace 2. However we are working to make this available through Ngā Kete.

We ask that you please update the non-matching data in your records. In some cases the Apprenticeship Boost application will have been processed because we have manually matched it. In these cases we still need the update at your end as the problem will reoccur for subsequent applications. We want the ITR data to be as accurate as possible.

MSD is the agency for employers to contact about their applications

MSD manages the applications for the Apprenticeship Boost. It is the only one who can view the employer’s applications and see information relating to payments.

Our role in the Apprenticeship Boost is verifying information. This means we are usually the best contact for transitional ITOs when data does not match.

Help your employers understand the eligibility criteria.

An apprentice must be in the first 24 months of apprenticeship training

Eligibility for Apprenticeship Boost is determined by the number of months of apprenticeship training an apprentice has done with the same TEO.

For some employers it is a surprise when their new apprentice is ineligible because of training completed with a previous employer.

Currently we cannot waive this requirement regardless of the circumstances.

Only recognised apprenticeships are eligible for the Apprenticeship Boost

Apprenticeship Boost specifically targets recognised apprenticeships. While we appreciate employers with other industry trainees may also be struggling post COVID-19, this initiative is not for them.

Apprenticeships are not the right choice for everyone

An apprenticeship is a significant undertaking for both the apprentice and the employer. For an employer it’s a commitment to growing and developing their workforce. For an apprentice, it’s a commitment to a longer-term career path. In all cases we want the training to be the best fit for the learner and employer. As the TEO we ask you to guide employers and ensure learners are given the best opportunities to succeed and complete.

Where can I find more information?

Your key contact for any issue remains your Relationship Manager. For day-to-day enquiries, please contact us on customerservice@tec.govt.nz or 0800 601 301.