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Support During the Apprenticeship

Information and resources to support employers throughout the full duration of the apprenticeship or traineeship.

There is support available for employers and their apprentices and trainees through the duration of an Australian Apprenticeship. These supports are designed to help the smooth progression and completion of apprentices and trainees, and to ensure the employer can get the most out of their participation in the Australian Apprenticeships system.

This page includes information about the networks and organisations who are able to support you throughout the Australian Apprenticeship. It also has some information for employers looking to get the best result when supporting their apprentices and trainees.

Supporting organisations

There are several types of organisations who can help the employer, apprentice or trainee throughout the Australian Apprenticeship. Each of these organisations has a different role in providing support, but if you are unsure who to contact the Australian Apprenticeship Support Network provider who conducted your sign up is the best place to start.

The main organisations you should know about are:

  • Australian Apprenticeship Support Network (AASN) providers: The AASN provider who signed up the apprentice or trainee will offer Post Placement Support throughout the Australian Apprenticeship, and is your first contact point for information or when issues occur.
  • Registered Training Organisation (RTOs): The RTO that is conducting the training for your apprentice or trainee is an important support for training-related questions or problems. You can contact them for information about the training, and they may get in touch with you if they think support is needed.
  • State or Territory Training Authority (STA): The STA approved the training contract when your apprentice or trainee was signed up, and is the legal authority under which the contract resides. You can contact them to discuss concerns about the training contract.

The block below has more information about each type of support organisation, and some additional support organisations that you may be working with as part of the Australian Apprenticeship.

Australian Apprenticeship Support Network (AASN) providers

After an apprentice or trainee has started work, the AASN provider may offer what is called Post Placement Support. This support is customised based on the need of the employer and apprentice or trainee.

The AASN provider may check in with the employer and apprentice or trainee at key points throughout the contract to see how things are progressing. This is a good time to raise any concerns with the AASN provider, or to ask any questions of them that you may have missed during sign up.

Within the duration of the apprenticeship or traineeship, you are able to contact the AASN providers for assistance with any questions or concerns, or for support if there are problems. The employer, apprentice and trainee should all keep a copy of their AASN provider's contact details and make contact when needed.

Australian Apprenticeships are designed to be a supported employment pathway, and the AASN providers may provide the majority of that support.

Registered Training Organisations (RTOs)

The RTO delivering training will support the apprentice or trainee in relation to their study, and may be able to support with other elements of the training including with any literacy or numeracy issues that may arise. The RTO may contact the employer if there are issues related to the training, which may include progression towards completing the relevant units or qualification.

When doing training at the location of the RTO, the apprentice or trainee will likely be supported by their trainer, and by others in the class. The informal mentoring and support that occurs in these environments can be a significant benefit to the Australian Apprentice.

State or Territory Training Authority (STA)

The STA is the government organisation who approves the training contract, and any variations to this. If you are wanting to change or cancel a contract, particularly for an apprenticeship, this will need to go through the STA.

Each STA works slightly differently, but in general you should contact them about concerns about the training contract, and for advice on next steps when issues occur. Although your AASN provider is the first point of contact, the STA can be used as an additional source of information, or to esculate issues.

State and Territory governments may also provide support through field staff in place to work through workplace issues.

Group Training Organisations (GTOs)

If you have used a GTO to take on your apprentice or trainee they will offer Post Placement Support services to you and your apprentice or trainee. This may include visits to the worksite, discussions with the employer, supervisor and apprentice or trainee, and training or resources as needed.

To find out more about the support offered by Group Training Organisations you should contact a specific GTO, or visit the National Apprentice Employment Network website to learn more about the work of GTOs.

Employment Services providers

Apprentices and trainees who were recruited through an Employment Services provider may receive additional support services through this provider. Support will differ depending on what type of program the apprentice or trainee was in before joining your business. You should discuss the support available with your provider.

Find a support organisation in your state or territory

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Getting the best from your apprentice or trainee

While there are minimum requirements for employers to support and supervise an Australian Apprentice, there are additional actions that businesses can take to get the most out of their apprentices and trainees.

The Role of Supervisors

The choice of supervisor is one factor that can make a big difference to the productivity of the apprentice or trainee. It is important to choose a supervisor who is skilled and experienced in the occupation, so they can train the apprentice or trainee. The supervisor will also need to:

  • be able to work and communicate well with junior staff
  • give constructive feedback in a way that is supportive and assists with learning
  • and identify and manage any problems that occur.

Having Realistic Expectations

Working with young people or inexperienced staff members can be difficult. It is easy to forget what it felt like not knowing much about the role, or even about how to act in a workplace. The supervisor should set clear expectations, without assuming that the apprentice or trainee knows what should be happening.

A common complaint from supervisors is that young people don’t want to put in the effort to learn properly, spend too much time on their phones, or are more interested in activities outside work. Young people can be more impulsive, take more risks or they sometimes don’t think through the consequences of an action. These things can develop with more maturity and it can be useful having a meaningful conversation with the young person about the issue.

Taking the time to understand younger generations can help improve relationships at work. A good place to start is by taking a look at an employers guide to employing young workers from the Fair Work Ombudsman.

The supervisor or employer should make sure the apprentice or trainee understands they are valued by the business, and should demonstrate this. This can be done by recognising their progression, the tasks they are able to complete, and where they are helping other staff.

An employer can also get additional value from their apprentices and trainees by including them in staff activities, so they feel like they are part of the team. This can include inviting them to staff events, team meetings, or even other types of professional development sessions.

Creating a mentally healthy workplace

Mental health includes your emotional, psychological and social well-being. An employer has a legal responsibility to their staff to make sure their workplace does not harm physical or mental health, and to avoid discrimination against staff on the basis of their physical or mental health.

Mental illness and poor mental wellbeing contributes to lost productivity through poor performance and absences, costing Australian businesses around $550 million per year just in workers compensation.

There are many things that employers can do to create mentally healthier workplaces. The resources below will help you identify any concerns and improve practices related to mental health at work.

Need help right now?

  • Beyond Blue: 1300 225 636
  • Lifeline: 13 11 14
  • In an emergency, contact triple zero (000)

Dealing with problems and difficult situations

Sometimes apprentices and trainees may encounter difficult situations, as will any employee. There may be issues involving alcohol or drugs, or issues in the employee's personal life. Sometimes these issues may be the cause of difficulties at work such as poor attendance or poor performance, or problems with workmates.

There are often established ways to deal with these issues in workplaces and they should be considered in the same way as for other employees. Often the supervisor or another mentor will be able to identify and support the apprentice or trainee with the workplace impact of these issues.

If you are having issues with your apprentice or trainee that you haven't been able to resolve internally, you should contact one of the support networks discussed earlier on this page for assistance.

Additional resources for your workplace