To contract or not to contract, that is the question

22 September, 2017

Apprenticeship Support Australia is in regular contact with the Department of Training and Workforce Development’s Apprenticeship Office, the State regulator of apprenticeships and traineeships.

One of the more recent conversations that we have had with the Apprenticeship Office was in relation to the importance of understanding when is it suitable for an employer to put a staff member on an apprenticeship/traineeship pathway versus undertaking a qualification through an institutional pathway i.e. complete a qualification outside of a national training contract.

Essentially in the eyes of the regulator, an apprenticeship/traineeship pathway allows an employee to be trained in their occupation, while learning on the job. The daily tasks of their current role, must align with the training package skill sets, allowing a person to be deemed competent in their daily work tasks to gain the qualification. 

If an employee or employer wants their staff to learn other skills through a national qualification that do not align with their job role, it should be done through an institutional pathway and therefore the study is undertaken mainly outside of their work requirements, usually in their own time. 

A quick list of the differences is outlined below:

A qualification undertaken through an Apprenticeship/Traineeship pathway:

  1. Must have a training contract which is a legally binding agreement between the employer and the apprentice or trainee.
  2. In signing the training contract, both parties are bound by certain obligations expressed in the contract.
  3. The intended occupation and the work duties performed by the apprentice/trainee must align with the qualification being undertaken.
  4. Depending on the qualification and other eligibility criteria, may attract subsidised training fees and government incentives.
  5. Employers may be eligible for additional funding or subsidies for employees undertaking an apprenticeship or traineeship.

A qualification undertaken through an institutional pathway:

  1. Individuals are enrolled with a training provider to complete a qualification. This does not need to be approved by the Apprenticeship Office.
  2. There is no employment relationship, contract of training or period of indenture.
  3. There are no restrictions on the duties performed in the workplace.
  4. Anyone can undertake this type of qualification as it is not related to their employment.
  5. Depending on the qualification, may still attract subsidised training fees.

If you are unsure which way to go when you’re considering training your team, please contact Apprenticeship Support Australia, who can assist you to understand your options.