The Department of Employment and Workplace Relations have released the Future Directions for Apprenticeship Support Services Consultation Paper that outlines the key elements of the new apprenticeship support system. This paper is a follow-up to the Australian Apprenticeship Services and Support Discussion Paper released in November 2022.
The purpose of this paper is to provide an update on stakeholders’ responses and the key themes that were raised. It also outlines the Australian Government’s proposed model based on those responses, for non-financial support provided by Australian Apprenticeship Services.
The key themes that came out of the discussion paper were around non-completions and the lack of diversity in apprenticeships. Stakeholders believe that targeted and tailored support for equity groups such as women in male-dominated trades, First Nations Peoples, those with a disability and regional, rural and remote apprentices would improve completion outcomes.
Other responses from the discussion paper cited the lack of clarity around roles and responsibilities, low levels of LLN (language, literacy, and numeracy) including digital literacy, and the need to simplify the current services and ensure that they are readily accessible. The relationship between the apprentice and supervisor is the key to a successful apprenticeship, that the current In-Training Support program should be expanded and be more proactive rather than reactive.
The Australian Government’s proposed future directions for non-financial support is essentially to put the apprentice at the forefront of the apprenticeship support services.
The new apprenticeship system includes measures that focus on support for apprentices and employers to improve apprenticeships completions and lift the profile of apprenticeships as a career pathway.
This includes measures that enable future apprentices to make informed apprenticeship choices before they commence their apprenticeship such as:
- Addressing LLND before the apprenticeship starts to ensure the apprentice gets the required support
- Conducting pre-assessments to match apprentices with the right employer and the right apprenticeship
- Australian Apprenticeship Support Network (AASN) providers to work more closely with schools to lift the profile of the benefits of an apprenticeship to secondary students
Measures were also proposed to support a seamless apprenticeship for both the apprentice and employer, and improve apprentice completions including:
- Identifying employers, such as first-time employers, and provide support on managing the apprenticeship
- Providing personalised support for the equity groups such as First Nations Peoples, women, those with a disability, and regional, rural and remote apprentices
- Providing streamlined support throughout the life of the apprenticeship with a mixture of face to face and text messaging to engage the apprentice and the employer informing them of the available support options
The new system will also ensure that all relevant stakeholders are included and the administration process is streamlined. This includes:
- Improving information sharing between the key stakeholders involved in an apprenticeship including states, territories, industry, and registered training providers
- Restructuring the current apprenticeship service model and introducing transparent and concise reporting model with clear key performance indicators and quality service delivery
Below is a quick overview of the key elements of the new apprenticeship support system.
It was also noted in the discussion paper that apprenticeships should be more flexible to include access to childcare, and the RTO’s delivery of off-the-job training, especially for equity groups.
For more information, download the full paper here.
Anyone working the VET sector who wants to contribute to the Future Directions Apprenticeship Support Services Consultation Paper can register to discuss their views with the department or can send them an email at AustralianApprenticeshipPolicy@dewr.gov.au. Written submissions must be in by COB 5pm (Canberra time) 22 May 2023.