You may have seen a lot of talk of late around all the issues being faced by apprentices in Victoria. Stories of apprentices being bullied, harassed, inadequately trained and supervised or having their wages stolen has been well documented by the Guardian, the Age, Channel 7, 3AW, A Current Affair and ABC Melbourne radio!
An apprenticeship should be the start of a long and rewarding career in a chosen trade or industry. Sadly, this clearly is not always the case with only 52% of Victorian apprentices finishing their apprenticeships. A small part of the solution to this problem is providing apprentices with the knowledge of what a good apprenticeship should look like so that you feel informed and empowered to speak up if something isn’t right at work.
So, what does a good apprenticeship look like? Well, it includes:
- A combination of paid on-the-job training and formal study through a Registered Training Organisation (RTO), usually a TAFE.
- A safe workplace where you are:
- Trained to work safely
- Given appropriate PPE
- Provided with equipment that is safe, and in working order
- Able to report safety issues without fear, including refusing unsafe work and requesting alternative safe work.
- An employer who takes their safety responsibilities seriously, including:
- Providing a safe workplace (including protection from bullying discrimination and harassment)
- Training staff to work safely, and
- fixing safety issues and providing alternative safe work.
- An employer who meets the minimum standards as an employer of an apprentice including,
- Paying at least the minimum wage (this will differ depending on your industry, age and being an apprentice also affects the minimum) you can check your minimum wage here.
- Provides an employment contract detailing your work and supervision. All employers are required to provide a level of supervision that is in accordance with the Training Contract and the approved training scheme.
- Enrols you in a vocational education and training (VET) course within 3 months of commencement
- Arranges for the signing and lodgement of a Training Plan – a document which describes what training is to be provided and by whom, as well as how, when and where the training is delivered.
- Provide a payslip each time you get paid (no more than 24 hours after you have been paid)
- Paying the compulsory superannuation contribution into your super fund (you can check this regularly through your superfunds app or website)
- Allow you the time necessary to attend training sessions with your selected RTO
- Paying or reimbursing your training/TAFE fees
Where can I get help?
If you are an apprentice and you aren’t experiencing a good apprenticeship, or you are having any other work-related issue you can reach out to the Young Workers Centre for free and confidential legal advice for young workers under 30. You can contact us here.