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Apprenticeship Training

What is an apprenticeship?

An apprenticeship or traineeship is a combination of employment and training which, when successfully completed, results in a nationally recognised qualification.

Nuts and bolts......  

Every apprenticeship  in Western Australia is governed by the conditions of a formal training contract, which is signed by the employer and apprentice (and parent/guardian) and registered with the Department of Training and Workforce Development. The contract is monitored by the Apprenticeship Office from commencement to completion of the qualification. 

When an employer has chosen an apprentice and is ready to start, they will contact an Apprenticeship Network Provider (A?NP) to prepare the essential paperwork. A representative from the ANP will pay a visit to the employer and apprentice to make sure each party is well informed about the contract of employment and to give information about any financial incentives available from the Commonwealth Government.

The employer chooses a Registered Training Provider (RTP) to deliver the off-the-job (classroom based) training that the apprentice is required to complete over the term of the apprenticeship. The RTP (Institute of Technology) will create a Training Plan Outline (TPO) which includes a schedule for the off-the-job training.

The apprenticeship will have a mandatory probation period of up to 90 days (depending on qualification level) and after this time, if all parties are happy to keep going forward, the contract will be registered with the Department of Training and Workforce Development. The Apprenticentre will monitor progress and deal with any issues that may be raised by the employer or apprentice.

When the probation period is cleared, the employer should contact the Construction Training Fund for information about applying for a special training grant that is available only to eligible employers of construction apprentices and trainees. The Training Fund's grant can amount to up to $19,000 over the course of the apprenticeship.

Each construction apprenticeship/traineeship has a nominal term of indenture, which is an indicator of the timeframe that an apprentice can be reasonably expected to complete training and perform at tradesperson standard.

The apprenticeship can be completed at a point when

  • all off-the-job training has been successfully assessed and completed, and
  • the employer agrees that the apprentice is consistently able to demonstrate all required competencies on-the-job to tradesperson standard.

When all the paperwork is finalised with each appropriate agency, the apprentice will receive a copy of his/her new qualification and a trade certificate and the employer will receive final instalments of incentives from the ANP and grants from the Construction Training Fund.

The apprentice becomes a qualified tradesperson and has no limits to furthering his/her career in the construction industry!

Employment as an apprentice

As apprenticeships are a combination of employment and training, anyone seeking an apprenticeship must find an employer to train them.

There are two types of employers involved in apprenticeship training. A direct indenture employer is a single business that employs and trains an apprentice for the entire duration of the indenture.

group training organisation (GTO) employs a large number of apprentices, often in a range of trade qualifications. As the employer, the GTO meets all conditions under which the apprentice is employed but places them with different host employers over the course of the indenture. The GTO charges the host employer a fee for the apprentice's services whilst ensuring the host employer provides essential on-the-job experience.

Helpful hints for seeking employment as an apprentice
Most apprentices commence their training as school leavers. It is not essential to have completed Year 12, but it is desirable for students to have some Yr11 or 12 education which includes relevant work experience.

An appropriate VET in Schools program can provide school leavers with improved chances of securing an apprenticeship in a construction trade. These programs offer students industry training, essential on-site work experience and a qualification.

Pre-Apprenticeship courses in a range of construction trades are available through RTPs. A pre-apprenticeship course is generally six months in duration and includes up to 110 hours of work experience. Employers often contact training providers who run pre-apprenticeship courses to recruit a new apprentice.

Students who successfully complete a pre-apprenticeship in a recognised building and construction trade can apply for a $250 scholarship from the Construction Training Fund

Apprentices in construction trades regularly move from different projects at different venues when working on-the-job, so it is important that they have access to reliable transport or hold their own driver’s licence.

Other entry
Apprenticeships are not only available to school leavers. There are no age limits placed on entry into apprenticeship training.

There are no pre-requisites for entry into an apprenticeship qualification. However, it is desirable for an individual to have good literacy and numeracy skills, as well as a positive attitude and willingness to learn.

Career progression

A trade in the building and construction industry is an initial qualification that can lay the foundations for a rewarding and satisfying career. The industry has an established culture of supporting training and encourages its workers to improve their skills.

The career paths available once an apprenticeship has been completed are varied and exciting opportunities can open up with experience and additional training. Supervision, management, design, communications, finance, administration and training are some of the many rich layers of the building and construction industry and all are possible career paths that can be achieved with an apprenticeship as the fundamental qualification.

There are real people in the industry who can demonstrate just how building and construction can provide lifelong learning and offer fantastic career potential.

Key terms in apprenticeship training

Generally, the relationship between an employer and an apprentice is referred to as an indenture.

The first part of an apprenticeship is probation - a period of up to 90 days after which time the indenture is registered with the Department of Training and Workforce Development.

Each apprenticeship has a nominal term of indenture, ranging from 24-48 months (full-time) depending on the specific trade. Rather than a guaranteed timeframe, the nominal term itself is an indicator of the time that can be reasonably expected for an apprentice to complete training and perform at tradesperson standard.

Linked closely to the nominal term is competency based training. Completion of a qualification is measured against the apprentice's ability to consistently demonstrate and apply knowledge and skills to the tasks expected of the trade, at tradesperson standard.

An apprenticeship includes off-the-job and on-the job training.

Off-the-job training (formal, classroom-based)  must be completed within the nominal term of the indenture, which, as an example, may be 850 hours within 36 months. This is determined by the content and nominal hours of the training package that underpins the individual, nationally recognised trade qualification.

Off-the-job training must be delivered and assessed by a Registered Training Provider (RTP). The RTP is chosen by the employer at the very beginning of the apprenticeship indenture.

The RTP negotiates a Training Plan Outline (TPO) with the employer. The TPO takes into account the requirements of the training package and the nature of the employer's business to ensure all requirements of the training package and qualification are met. The TPO includes a schedule for the apprentice to attend the required number of training hours.   

On-the-job training is provided by the employer to give the apprentice the depth and breadth of experiences essential to apply knowledge, skills and underpinning theory necessary to demonstrate and achieve competency as a tradesperson.

To be assessed as competent, an apprentice is required to successfully complete all off-the-job training and be verified as competent by their employer in all on-the-job tasks.