In 2014, the VRQA conducted a regulatory campaign in the automotive industry. A number of employers were investigated to check that apprentices were being properly supervised and trained.
It is not only important for the automotive apprentices themselves to be gaining the required skills and knowledge. It is also critical for public safety: drivers must be able to trust that the automotive mechanics maintaining their vehicles are properly trained and qualified.
The apprentices were all employed in the automotive industry and enrolled in the Certificate III in Light Vehicle Mechanical Technology.
The investigation identified several issues, including:
- inappropriate supervision of apprentices, e.g. supervisors who were not appropriately experienced or qualified, or apprentices who were left on their own some or all of the time
- inappropriate work tasks or facilities, resulting in apprentices not gaining the necessary knowledge and skills for working in the automotive industry
- limited evidence of training, including a lack of contact with the registered training organisation
- apprentices not being released to attend formal training, or not being paid to attend training.
As a result of the campaign:
- ninety-nine training contracts were cancelled (including 39 voluntary cancellations)
- eight employer approvals were revoked.
Affected apprentices were able enter into new training contracts under improved arrangements.