Apprenticeship Boost

Apprenticeship Boost

Last updated 2 August 2021
Last updated 2 August 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 (excluding GST). Payments will be made to the employer of eligible apprentices.

Apprentice eligibility

To be eligible for the Apprenticeship Boost, an apprentice must:

  • be enrolled and engaged in a Tertiary Education Commission (TEC) approved and funded New Zealand Apprenticeship or Managed Apprenticeship,
  • be actively training through a Transitional Industry Training Organisation (TITO) or a provider,
  • have completed no more than 24 months in a TEC approved apprenticeship that is the same or similar.

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. Assistance 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.  Apprenticeship programmes are approved and funded by the TEC.

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

How to apply

Employers can apply for the Apprenticeship Boost assistance through the 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 the apprentices’ first year, and $500 per month in their second year (excluding GST).

How long is Apprenticeship Boost available for?

Apprenticeship Boost will run for 24 months from August 2020 to August 2022.

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 costs of training new apprentices in their first 24 months of their programme of study.

What is MSD’s role in this initiative?

The MSD is responsible for making the Apprenticeship Boost payments. It receive employers’ applications, processes them and make the payments. Applications can be made through MSD’s Work and Income website.

What is TEC’s role in it?

The TEC will support MSD by verifying an employer’s details 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 TEC approved New Zealand Apprenticeship or a TEC approved Managed Apprenticeship.  The apprentice must have completed no more than 24 months of apprenticeship training that is the same or similar. Apprenticeships are the ‘same or similar’ if they create transferable technical skills relevant to an occupation.

If your apprentice has been previously enrolled in any other TEC approved apprenticeship with a same or similar content, this will be counted towards the number of months of training the apprentice has completed.

For example: In 2020, your apprentice completed a 12-month barbering course with HITO. In 2021 your apprentice also started a hairdressing course, also with HITO. If you apply for Apprenticeship Boost, you would be eligible to get $500 per month, as your apprentice is in their 2nd year of their 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 TEC approved New Zealand Apprenticeships and TEC approved Managed Apprenticeships. The Apprenticeship Boost programme targets these apprentices as they are earlier in their training pathway and therefore more likely to be vulnerable to redundancy during economic downturns.

Apprenticeship Boost has already made a big difference to your employers

Between the Apprenticeship Boost launch in August and 2 July 2021:

(a)       30,031 apprentices have been supported

(b)      13,160 employers have registered for Apprenticeship Boost

(c)       $180,660,800.00 has been paid out

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 TITO 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 TITO 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 TITO 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

Assistance payments will be made to your employer who must continue to pay you the relevant minimum or training wage. If you think you are not being paid the minimum wage or training wage, you should approach the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) to lodge a complaint with the Employment Inspectorate as this may be a breach of employment law.

Will I receive Apprenticeship Boost payments directly?

No, Apprenticeship Boost payments will be paid 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 is 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.
  • The Apprenticeship Boost Unmatched submission app on Nga Kete supplies you with a list of your apprentices where the Apprenticeship Boost employer name does not match the data you have submitted for that apprentice. Please check the app regularly and work with the employer to ensure you are submitting the same employer name to both ourselves and MSD.
  • Process new enrolments for apprenticeships 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 TEC funding TEOs are currently receiving from TEC. Apprenticeship Boost payments will be made directly by MSD to employers.

How is the payment start date calculated for Employers?

If the employer completed their application with MSD within 20 working days of creating their account with MSD, the payment start date will be the day they created their account. If the employer completed their application more than 20 working days after they created their account with MSD, the payment start date will be the day they completed their application. There is further information on the Work and Income website.

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

No. 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?

It may do.

If an apprentice has been enrolled in another same or similar apprenticeship programme previously, this will be included in the calculation of their months of eligibility.

If the apprentice has previously been enrolled in other vocational training that is not an apprenticeship, this will not be included in the calculation of their months of eligibility.

How does previous study or training count against eligibility?

We will count every month where there is a record of an active apprenticeship and share this with MSD. “Active” means the enrolment is not on hold, withdrawn or completed.

Information for providers of Managed Apprenticeships

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

There is a monthly template on 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’s name is critical to the data matching and the employers being paid as quickly as possible.

For those TEO’s that submit data via the Single Data Return, the data you submit in your course enrolment file should match the data you submit in your monthly Managed Apprenticeships template.

We are aware there will be timing issues as the Managed Apprenticeships template in Workspace 2 is submitted monthly while the SDR files are submitted three times a year. However, we expect that your course enrolment file in the SDR will reflect apprenticeships submitted in Workspace 2 for the prior months.

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:

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

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

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

Information for Providers using the Industry Training Register (ITR)

Apprenticeship Boost runs smoothly when we all work together.

Apprenticeship Boost provides assistance for employers of apprentices in their first 24 months of training and has been running since August 2020. This initiative has seen MSD and TEC working closely with key partners like TITOs. We really appreciate the work TITOs have done to date and want to keep you informed about what is happening with Apprenticeship Boost.

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 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 Inland Revenue Department 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.

MSD is the agency for employers to contact about their applications

MSD manages the applications for the Apprenticeship Boost.

Our role in the Apprenticeship Boost is verifying information. This means we are the best contact for those submitting data to us via the ITR when data does not match.

Help your employers understand the eligibility criteria

Eligibility for Apprenticeship Boost is determined by the number of months of apprenticeship training an apprentice has completed.

For some employers it is a surprise when their new apprentice is ineligible because of training completed in a same or similar qualification 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 is specifically designed as only for TEC approved 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.