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Frequently asked questions

 

 

 Who is regulated in relation to apprenticeships and traineeships?

Under the Education and Training Reform Act 2006 registered training organisations (RTOs), apprentices and trainees and their employers are subject to regulation as parties to a training contract.

What is regulated?

When an employer takes on an apprentice or trainee, the parties sign a training contract that places obligations on all parties.

Employers must arrange for their apprentice or trainee to be enrolled in a registered training organisation (RTO) and must arrange a schedule that enables the apprentice/trainee to leave the workplace to attend the RTO for off-the-job training. They must also provide appropriate facilities and experienced people to supervise the apprentice/trainee while at work. 

The apprentice/trainee must attend the workplace, follow instructions, attend off-the-job training and work towards achieving the qualification stated in the training contract.

The regulation of apprenticeships and traineeships focuses on ensuring that employers and apprentices/trainees are meeting their training contract obligations.

If these or other obligations of the training contract are not being met you can contact the VRQA for advice.

What aspects of apprenticeships and traineeships are not regulated?

The VRQA does not have the authority to investigate or resolve disputes over wages and conditions or occupational health and safety. Other regulators are responsible for these areas.

If a party to the training contract has concerns over occupational health and safety, they can call WorkSafe on (03) 9641 1444 or 1800 136 089 (toll free).

If the apprentice/trainee has an enquiry or dispute over wages and conditions, they can call the Fair Work Ombudsman on 13 13 94.

I’m not sure whether my workplace issue is covered by the VRQA or not. Who should I call?

Sometimes a workplace problem is complex, or is the result of a combination of factors.

If you are in any doubt about who can help address your issue, call 1300 722 603 and explain your situation to a VRQA staff member. They will decide whether an authorised officer needs to visit your workplace. They may also tell you whether you need to call another regulator like WorkSafe or the Fair Work Ombudsman.

What are apprenticeship and traineeship regulatory field services?

Apprenticeship and traineeships regulatory field services monitor the compliance of employers, apprentices and trainees with the requirements of the training contract in accordance with section 5.5 of the Education and Training Reform Act 2006.

Authorised officers are employed by BUSY At Work and appointed by the VRQA to visit workplaces and talk to apprentices, trainees and their employees to determine whether both parties are meeting their training contract obligations. They have a right of entry into premises where an apprentice or trainee is employed, to make enquiries, and to inspect and copy documents.  

In most workplaces where apprentices/trainees are employed training contract obligations are being met.

Where a training contract is not being complied with, the authorised officers advise a delegated officer in the VRQA who has the authority to enquire into the matter and make determinations to resolve the issue.

Who are authorised officers and what are their powers?

BUSY At Work authorised officers have been appointed by the Director of the VRQA as authorised officers under section 5.8.1 of the Education and Training Reform Act 2006.

Authorised officers have a right of entry into premises where an apprentice or trainee is employed, to make enquiries, and to inspect and copy documents.

BUSY At Work authorised officers will be in uniform and must identify themselves when making contact in person by producing their identification card.

I’m an employer and a BUSY At Work authorised officer has contacted me to set up an appointment. Why?

An authorised officer may contact employers for one of two reasons.

You may be contacted in relation to a routine visit. There are about 35,000 employers of apprentices and trainees in Victoria. BUSY At Work authorised officers have a rolling program of routine visits to these workplaces to check training contract compliance.

Authorised officers may also contact you to arrange a visit to discuss a matter in relation to the training contract that has been raised with the VRQA by one of the parties to the contract.

What happens if there are problems that are revealed at the time of a routine visit?

In many cases the employer and apprentice/trainee will use the opportunity to address any problems themselves, with general assistance provided by the authorised officer.

What happens if the problems are not resolved?

If the problems are not resolved, the authorised officers provide advice to a delegated officer in the VRQA who has the authority to enquire into the matter and make determinations to resolve the issue.

Am I required to discuss matters related to the training contract with an authorised officer?

You are not required to discuss matters related to the training contract with an authorised officer. If you choose not to, it is more likely that the matter will be referred to the Delegate for further enquiries and decisions. Ultimately, the Delegate can make decisions about the training contract (e.g. cancellation) with or without input from parties to the training contract. 

I work at a registered training organisation and suspect that an apprentice/trainee is having a problem with an employer. What do I do?

An important first step is to talk to the apprentice/trainee to see if there is a problem that they wish to address. The VRQA can only investigate and act where parties to the training contract (i.e. an employer, apprentice/trainee) request this. You may wish to offer your support to the apprentice/trainee by discussing the situation with them.

Can I speak directly to a BUSY At Work authorised officer when I call 1300 722 603?

When you call 1300 722 603 you will reach a VRQA staff member who will assist you with your enquiry. If necessary a referral to an authorised officer will be made.

How long will it be until my issue has been resolved by an authorised officer?

The time it takes to resolve an issue depends on the complexity of the query or issues in relation to the training contract. Some queries may be resolved on the day you are contacted. Others may require a more formal investigation which will take more time.

Process for transitioning a qualification

Why has the new process for transitioning qualifications been developed?

The process has been designed to make it simpler and more transparent for employers and apprentices/trainees to transition from superseded qualifications by reducing red tape associated with the transition process. The change allows employers and apprentices/trainees to vary training contracts while retaining their original registration number.

How does the process for transitioning qualifications work?

Existing training contracts

Upon receiving an Apprenticeship/Traineeship Variation of Training Contract (Transition to current qualification) form (doc - 97.5kb), an Apprenticeship Support Network provider will submit the details to the VRQA with the new qualification code. The VRQA will amend the existing registration in the DELTA database to allow RTOs to accurately claim funding for delivering qualifications through the Skills Victoria Training System (SVTS).

RTOs are still required to withdraw students from the superseded qualification and to re-enrol them in the new qualification for the remaining units. Both course enrolments should be reported to the SVTS for the remaining of the collection year.

New training contracts

Australian Apprenticeship Support Network providers will request that the parties entering into a training contract also complete an Apprenticeship/Traineeship Variation of Training Contract (Transition to current qualification) form (doc - 97.5kb) seeking consent to vary the contract at any time over the term of the contract to reflect the most current qualification by following the same process as for an existing contract (above).

Why has the format of the transition form changed?

The form has been amended so it can easily be used for both new and existing training contracts. The additional fields include a DELTA registration number, RTO details, the new qualification code being transitioned into and the date of effect.

Who should initiate the process of transitioning a qualification?

Most requests to transition from superseded qualifications are initiated by RTOs wishing to ensure they remain compliant with the Australian Skills Quality Authority (ASQA) General Direction on Transition and Teach-Out and their conditions of registration with ASQA. RTOs registered with the VRQA may initiate a request to transition from a superseded qualification based on the requirements of transition notices issued by the VRQA and their conditions of registration with the VRQA.

Consequently, it is anticipated that RTOs will assume primary responsibility for supporting employers and their apprentices/trainees to complete and lodge this documentation with an Australian Apprenticeship Support Network provider.

Employers and apprentices/trainees may also choose to initiate transition from a superseded qualification by directly contacting an Australian Apprenticeship Support Network provider.