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Australian Apprenticeship Training

The role of choice within training and the importance of active participation

Training anywhere, anytime

At the end of a successful Australian Apprenticeship, employees will have achieved a certificate in a nationally endorsed qualification which has been developed through consultation with industry.

But a real strength of the apprenticeship and traineeship approach is the combination of structured training delivered by a Registered Training Organisation (RTO) and employers helping to place this training in the context of the workplace.  This training in practical skill areas, reinforced through everyday use, leads to the development of productive staff.  

An employer's ongoing staff supervision and attention to their employee's progress through their training are major factors in achieving successful Australian Apprenticeship outcomes.

Competency Based Training

The training involved with Australian Apprenticeships is detailed in a training plan, developed by a Registered Training Organisation in consulation with the employer and employee.  This plan details how the underpinning, nationally endorsed qualification will be completed.

An Australian Apprenticeship can take from one to four years to complete, depending on the type of Australian Apprenticeship and the qualification undertaken. Training pathways and durations are set by state or territory governments in consultation with industry. 

Australian Apprenticeships are ‘competency based’ which in simple terms means that a person must demonstrate that they are competent in a specific skill or task at a required skill level. This provides training with a practical, workplace focus. In some cases the achievement of competency can be the trigger for a wage increase. 

Employers can discuss training style, content and delivery options in more detail with a Registered Training Organisation when an apprenticeship or traineeship gets underway.

Who delivers the training?

Formal training is conducted by a Registered Training Organisation (RTO), organisations which go through an endorsment process and regular audits. There are public and private RTOs.

Public RTOs are usually TAFE colleges or other state funded organisations such as community education centres and even some schools.

Private RTOs can be for profit or not-for-profit organisations. Some large companies set up their own enterprise RTO focused on training within the organisation. Some Group Training Organisations are also private RTOs.

Whatever the type of RTO, they are all subject to the same quality standards and audit process.

RTOs may focus on a single industry or a range of industries.  They can develop and offer a variety of training delivery methods.

If an RTO is accredited to deliver a qualification, its training and assessment will be recognised by every other RTO in Australia as they are delivering qualifications that are endorsed Australia-wide. 

Additionally, each state and territory government registers RTOs that can train apprentices and trainees in specific qualifications.  

States and territories also determine the qualifications that will receive public funding support when delivered as Australian Apprenticeships.

Some considerations ...

When deciding which RTO to select, employers should consider reputation, flexibility about the content of the training and how it is delivered, location and associated costs. It is important to remember that the employer is the customer in this relationship. If an RTO is not able to meet an employer's requirements they are welcome to look around for alternative RTOs.

Employers can also change RTOs midstream if needed. Apprenticeship and traineeship qualifications are nationally portable, meaning any other RTO in the country that offers the qualification will recognise the training that has already taken place, enabling future training to build on past achievements.

The apprentice or trainee will need to enrol in formal training soon after commencing. The training contract covering the position will specify this period.  

A training plan will outline the units or competency the employee will undertake and when the training will take place. Most qualifications include the choice of elective units which are used to ensure the training best meets the needs of the employer and employee. Training plans are flexible and can be revisited at a later date should needs change.

There will probably be an enrolment fee connected to the Australian Apprenticeship training. Some awards stipulate that this is the responsibility of the employer, and there may also be state or territory based policies relating to fees.

It's important to check employer responsibilities in this area either with an RTO or an Apprenticeship Network provider.

Language, Literacy and Numeracy

Language, Literacy and Numeracy

Some apprentices and trainees may need assistance with literacy or numeracy. Any issues should be discussed with the RTO which may be able to provide extra support in these areas.

There may be other avenues for assistance with literacy and numeracy training. An Apprenticeship Network provider or a GTO are good points of contact.

More information on literacy and numeracy in the workplace

About the training plan

Further information

A training plan contains the detail of what the apprentice or trainee will cover in their training. This includes the units of competencies, when they will be delivered, and where the training and assessment will take place.

The training plan is a living document that can be changed to ensure it remains relevant. Any changes will need to be made in consultation with the RTO delivering the training plan.

Links to further information in some states

Training in the workplace

Training in the workplace

Most of the training an apprentice or trainee receives is in the workplace, not at the RTO.

Over the course of the Australian Apprenticeship, practicing skills in the workplace will lead employees to being able to demonstrate their competence to industry standards.

To achieve this outcome employer supervision of performance and training is required.

More about supervision