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How does Training Work?

Information on qualifications, training arrangements, training providers and approaches to training delivery and assessment.

Apprentices and trainees gain valuable experience and training on-the-job with their employer while also completing formal training towards a nationally recognised qualification with a Registered Training Organisation.

Apprenticeships and traineeships are competency based. Competency-based training is a combination of formal learning and workplace training which gives you the ability to apply skills and knowledge, even in new situations and environments.

Competency-based training has been designed to be broken down into smaller pieces, called units, which add up to a full qualification. Each unit has a practical and theoretical component, so once you have demonstrated the ability to perform the tasks and duties that are required it may be possible to complete the training sooner.

Qualifications can be customised to meet the needs of the employer, which enables the training to develop productive employees with expertise that can be applied in the workplace.

How this all works comes out of discussions between the employer, employee and the training provider. From these discussions a training plan is produced to provide a flexible learning approach which fits with the needs of the employer and employee.

Flexible learning can expand choice about what, when, where and how people learn. It is based on the needs of the learner and could cover a range of training delivery styles including classroom-based learning, e-learning, distance education, mixed-mode delivery, online learning, self-paced and self-directed learning.

An trainer teaching a male and female apprentice or trainee on how to use electrical instruments

What is a training organisation?

A Registered Training Organisation (RTO) is an organisation providing Vocational Education and Training (VET), resulting in qualifications or statements of attainment that are recognised and accepted by industry and other educational institutions throughout Australia.

RTOs include TAFE colleges or institutes, private providers, adult and community education providers, community groups, and schools. They are organisations registered with the national Australian Skills Quality Authority (or the state training authority in the case of Victoria and Western Australia), and are both providers and assessors of nationally recognised training.

Apprentices and trainees receive their formal training from an RTO and the training delivery can be subsidised, although there may be associated costs for the person being trained. RTOs have a number of payment options available which can be discussed at time of enrolment.

It's important to know that only some RTOs have been specifically approved by state and territory governments to provide apprenticeship and traineeship training. The Australian Apprenticeships Support Network provider you sign up with will be able to assist you in choosing an RTO if you haven't already selected one.

Training in the workplace

Employers play a big role in everyone getting the most out of the training experience. Their ongoing attention to training benefits themselves (helping a speedy build-up of productive skills) and also their employee (providing feedback on the quality and relevance of the training). 

A Training Plan will outline what aspects of the training will be formally delivered by the RTO and what aspects will be the employer's or supervisor's focus in the workplace in the context of day to day work. A Training Plan is a fluid document and can be updated at any time to reflect ongoing changes in the workplace.

For an apprentice or trainee factors that make up a quality training experience include:

  • Having a workplace coach, mentor or supervisor
  • Receiving clear direction about what needs to be learned
  • Having time allocated for explanations, demonstrations and practice of tasks or skills, particularly if workplace specific methods are used
  • Provision of regular feedback, and being able to request feedback, about the training being received in the workplace and from the training organisation
  • Attention to the identification and resolution of problems before they affect work performance and working relationships
  • Ongoing monitoring of the training plan by the employer, employee and training provider. Is the training plan achieving outcomes, are competencies being achieved, are records being kept?

Find a training organisation registered to deliver Australian Apprenticeships training in a specific State or Territory.

Australian Capital Territory Skills Canberra
New South Wales Smart and Skilled
Northern Territory Northern Territory Government
Queensland Queensland Skills Gateway
South Australia Work Ready
Tasmania Skills Tasmania
Victoria Victoria Skills Gateway
Western Australia Department of Training and Workforce Development

The Training Contract

When an employee is 'signed up' into an apprenticeship or traineeship, both the employer and employee sign a training contract or training agreement. This is a different document to the training plan, which outlines the training to be provided.

The training contract is a legally binding agreement between the employer and the apprentice or trainee. It protects both the employer’s and employee's interests and outlines each party’s obligations, including the training and supervision that must be provided.

Each party receives a copy of the contract. It is important to keep this copy for the duration of the Australian Apprenticeship. Here's a tip for people who think it's unlikely that they will remember where they filed a piece of paper perhaps up to four years ago: take a picture of it and back the file up somewhere handy.

The contract will cover: the qualification to be undertaken; an estimate of how long it will take to complete; the number of hours in training and employment provided each week; each party’s obligations to each other; what to do if there is a problem; and the off-the-job and on-the-job training arrangements.

Once completed, the training contract will be lodged with an Apprenticeship Network provider and approved by the State or Territory Training Authority. Apprenticeship Network providers are contracted by the Australian Government and operate across Australia.

Find an Australian Apprenticeship Support Network provider

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