This audit would examine the design and administration of Trade Support Loans and whether the program has achieved its objective of increasing completion rates among Australian apprentices in priority trades.

Trade Support Loans (of up to $21,018 in 2019–20) were established in 2014 with a budget allocation of $1 billion over the period 2015–16 to 2019–20. The program, administered by the Department of Education, Skills and Employment, aims to increase completion rates of apprentices in priority areas by providing them with financial support to assist them with the costs of living and learning while undertaking an apprenticeship. The department has a memorandum of understanding with the Australian Taxation Office to administer the collection of loan repayments on the department’s behalf.