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Training Your Apprentice

Your apprentice or trainee will do a nationally endorsed qualification with a Registered Training Organisation.

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. They may then be eligible for trade papers, to recognise their position as a qualified tradesperson.

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

An employer's ongoing supervision of the apprentice or trainee, and attention to their progress through their training, are major factors in achieving successful Australian Apprenticeship outcomes.

The apprentice or trainee will need to enrol with the RTO for formal training, which will occur soon after signing of the training contract. The RTO will construct a training plan with the employer and employee that will outline what aspects of the training are delivered by the RTO and what aspects the employer will need to focus on in the workplace.

A young woman with her supervisor in a factory, coating glass.

Expectations and responsibilities

There are expectations and responsibilities of the RTO, employer, and apprentice or trainee when it comes to formal training.

The employer needs to allow the Australian Apprentice time to attend their formal qualification with the RTO, and may need to pay for aspects of the training. The apprentice or trainee needs to attend their training, progress in a satisfactory manner, and maintain their training records.

The National Code of Good Practice for Australian Apprenticeships covers the obligations of the employer and apprentice or trainee.

The RTO needs to comply with government legislation, which outlines things such as the quality and content of training, and the behaviour of the RTO. If you have any concerns or questions about the training you should discuss these with the RTO, or with the State or Territory Training Authority.

Formal training towards a qualification

Formal training is conducted by a Registered Training Organisation (RTO), which goes through an endorsement 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, schools and dual-sector universities. Private RTOs can be for profit or not-for-profit organisations. Some large companies set up their own enterprise RTO focused on training within their organisation.

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.

States and Territories determine the qualifications that will receive public funding support when delivered as Australian Apprenticeships. Additionally, State and Territory Governments may register RTOs that can train apprentices and trainees in specific qualifications. 

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

Choosing an RTO

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 change RTOs part way through the Australian Apprenticeship 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.

About the training plan

A training plan contains the detail of what the apprentice or trainee will cover in their training. This includes the units of competency, when they will be delivered, and where the training and assessment 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 and to ensure that it remains relevant. Any changes will need to be made in consultation with the RTO, employer and apprentice or trainee.

Language, Literacy and Numeracy

There are differences between industries and occupations in terms of the literacy and numeracy skills required. When taking on an apprentice or trainee you should consider how important these skills are. If they are really important, or high level skills are needed, this should be considered as part of the hiring process or during probation.

Some apprentices and trainees may need assistance with literacy or numeracy. Any concerns should be discussed with the RTO, which may be able to provide extra support in these areas. You can also contact your Australian Apprenticeship Support Network provider who will be able to direct you to further support services.

The RTO may assess the apprentice or trainee's language, literacy and numeracy skills when they start formal training. This helps the RTO identify any students who may need assistance, and provide targeted support for them. If the RTO has concerns about the skills of your apprentice or trainee, they may contact you to discuss these.

Training in the workplace

Most of the training an apprentice or trainee receives and the learning they do is in the workplace. To achieve a positive outcome, good quality supervision of the apprentice or trainee's performance and training is required.

The supervisor needs to have the skills and experience, and in some case licenses, to be able to train the apprentice or trainee. If you are concerned about whether the supervior has the skills or qualifications to supervise and apprentice or trainee, you should talk with your Australian Apprenticeship Support Network provider.

Competency based training

Australian Apprenticeships are ‘competency based’ which means that the apprentice or trainee must demonstrate that they are competent in a specific skill or task. This competency relates to the way in which the skill can be performed in the workplace.

In some cases the achievement of competency can be the trigger for a wage increase. For more information about pay, take a look at Financial Information.

Recording and assessment in the workplace

As the apprentice or trainee is learning and applying their skills in the workplace, there may be recording of these skills or on-the-job assessments that need to occur. This relates to the apprentice or trainee demonstrating their competency within the workplace.

In some cases there are requirements for employers, apprentices and trainees to keep records in a certain way, and to record specific activities or milestones. The RTO and Australian Apprenticeship Support Network provider will give you and your apprentice or trainee information about how this recording and assessment may occur.

As part of the obligation of participating in the Australian Apprenticeships system, you must comply with these requirements.

Monitoring the training

The RTO, employer, and apprentice or trainee should all monitor the progression of training against the training plan. It is the employer's responsibility to give the apprentice or trainee enough work related to their learning, in order for the apprentice or trainee to develop their skills.

The apprentice or trainee also needs to undertake their training to make sure they are learning enough to progress through their qualification, and to be able to increase their skills and productivity for the business.

Discussions about changes to the training, or learning or progression issues, should be discussed with the RTO.