All about Australian Apprenticeships - the process, who's involved and what they do
What is an Australian Apprenticeship?
Apprenticeships and traineeships are jobs that combine paid work and structured training. They include
- paid employment under an appropriate industrial arrangement (for example, an award or enterprise agreement)
- nationally recognised training.
The difference between an apprenticeship and a traineeship
Over 600 traineeship vocations are available in a range of areas, including Business, Retail, Community Health, Child Care, Financial Services and many more. Traineeships generally take between twelve to twenty four months to complete.
There are hundreds of apprenticeships available. Apprenticeships generally last between thirty six to forty eight months and cover trade areas such as Building and Construction, Horticulture, Cooking, the Automotive industry, Engineering, Manufacturing and many more.
- Australian, State and Territory Governments
- peak level bodies such as Industry Skills Councils and employer and employee associations
- Australian Apprenticeships Centres (AACs), such as MEGT Australian Apprenticeships Centre
- Registered Training Organisations (RTOs)
- Group Training Organisations (GTOs).
The government bodies involved
The Australian Apprenticeships Support Service is a federal initiative.
- Training and Education is delivered through state governments.
- Wages and conditions vary by industry, by State Award and individual workplace agreements.
The Australian Government offers a range of financial incentives to eligible employers and employees to create and fill an Australian Apprenticeship position. In general terms, Australian Government involvement is to help increase the number of skilled or training employment opportunities in the Australian economy.
Australian Apprenticeships Centres (AACs), such as MEGT's AAC, have the responsibility for determining eligibility for most Commonwealth incentives.
State and Territory Governments most often participate in the area of training, that is the registration and auditing of training organisations and funding of the provision of the training. State and Territory Governments may also offer employment related initiatives and incentives.
Department of Industry
This Australian Government Department is responsible for Australian Apprenticeships development and implementation.
This includes the contracting out of services such as Industry Skills Councils (ISCs), Australian Apprenticeships Centres and Job Network Members, and the delivery of many vocational education and employment related initiatives.
The Department of Industry also funds the Australian Quality Training Framework (AQTF) which is the national set of standards which assures nationally consistent, high-quality training and assessment services for the clients of Australia’s vocational education and training system. The revised version of the AQTF is effective from 1 July 2010.
State and Territory Training Authorities
The State and Territory Training Authorities have responsibility for the registration of nationally endorsed Training Package qualifications for use in their State or Territory.
STAs also establish public funding levels for the qualifications they register. This is often referred to as 'User Choice' funding. Some qualifications in a Training Package may not be covered by this public funding.
The State and Territory Training Authorities have the responsibility for the registration and auditing of Australian Apprenticeships training providers (RTOs).
State and Territory Training Authorities are also responsible for formally registering Australian Apprentices, and so are the agencies where the 'Training Agreement' is lodged. Naturally they are also the agency responsible for approval of variations to Training Agreements, including suspensions and cancellations. The approval of an early completion of an Australian Apprenticeship is also their responsibility.
Further to this, State and Territory Governments may also be involved in the practical issues that sometimes arise between an Australian Apprentice and their employer or the training provider. Most have field staff in metropolitan and regional areas that aim to help resolve issues.
State or Territory Training Authorities usually issue the Australian Apprentice a certificate or acknowledgement on completion of their Australian Apprenticeship.
Industry Skills Councils
Industry Skills Councils (ISCs) are peak industry bodies involved in the development of Training Packages that are a qualification framework for specific industries.
ISCs consult with employers and industry stakeholders, such as employers and Registered Training Organisations, in developing these qualification frameworks.
The qualification outcomes can range from Certificate level I to Advanced Diploma or in some industries to higher level post-graduate qualifications.
There are ten ISCs covering 72 industry sectors.
ISCs also provide advice on their industries including identifying current and potential areas of skill shortage.
Australian Apprenticeships Centres
An Australian Apprenticeships Centre (such as MEGT's AAC) is an organisation contracted to the Australian government to market and administer the Australian Apprenticeships Support Services Programme. An AAC provides assistance to employers and their apprentices/trainees by:
- completing and lodging National Training Contracts with the State Training Authority
- determining eligibility for participation and government funding
- processing incentive payments to employers (where applicable)
- providing advice to employers and Australian Apprentices on relevant training packages
- monitoring the progress of the Australian Apprenticeship.
Registered Training Organisations
An RTO may be a public organisation (for example a TAFE) or private organisation. An employer may also apply to become an RTO. RTOs must adhere to nationally consistent standards. Their performance is audited by State or Territory Governments. RTOs may deliver training outside of Australian Apprenticeships, such as 'fee for service' courses, 'pre-apprenticeships' programs or higher level courses that articulate into tertiary study.
RTOs participate in the development of an individual Training Plan for an Australian Apprentice, along with the employer and Australian Apprentice. The Training Plan details the units of competency to be completed to obtain a qualification. The units must be selected on the basis of the packaging rules set out in the Training Package.
People undertaking a qualification have the opportunity to have their current skills, knowledge and experiences recognised formally, without having to undergo unnecessary training if they are already competent. This is known as a Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) assessment which is conducted by an RTO.
RTOs also conduct Recognition of Current Competency (RCC) assessments where a person who has already completed some formal training in the relevant field gains 'credit' and does not have to repeat the training.
RTOs provide the teaching and often the teaching materials required to take Australian Apprenticeships through the Training Plan. The RTO can provide training in a combination of ways such as 'on campus', in the workplace, or by 'distance education'.
RTOs must keep in contact with employers to maximise the level of integration of the training with the Australian Apprentice's duties in the workplace.
The RTO is responsible for assessing or validating that the Australian Apprentice is competent in the units set out in the Training Plan. The RTO issues a certificate to Australian Apprentices who successfully complete the requirements of the qualification.
Group Training Organisations
Group Training Organisations (GTOs) don't train groups of people. They employ Australian Apprentices and hire them out (labour hire) to different businesses on a short or long-term basis.
This approach enables businesses to take on an Australian Apprentice even though in some cases they cannot provide an Australian Apprentice with the broad range of skills needed to complete their training.
Group Training Organisations take on the contractual and administrative responsibilities of the employer (the payment of wages and superannuation for example), and also participate in the recruitment of Australian Apprentices and often 'pre-apprenticeships' skills development training.
Employment Services Organisations
Job Services Organisations are organisations contracted by the Commonwealth Government to help employers recruit staff and to help people to find jobs. Filling Australian Apprenticeships positions makes up just one element of the work of ESOs/JSOs. They also help develop a job seeker's 'job readiness' and assist in their job hunting activities.
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MEGT (Australia) Ltd trading as MEGT is an Australian Apprenticeships Centre contracted by the Australian government as represented by the Department of Industry to provide Australian Apprenticeships Support Services to employers and Australian Apprentices. MEGT is one of a number of Australian Apprenticeships Centres in Australia. This website does not represent the Australian Government. If you wish to access information about Australian Apprenticeships from the Australian government, you should access the website http://www.australianapprenticeships.gov.au
Australian Apprenticeships are an Australian Government initiative.