Are you thinking of starting an apprenticeship? As school comes to a close and results are released an apprenticeship is a great opportunity to learn and work at the same time. No matter what apprenticeship you’re thinking of entering, here is what you need to know to make sure you’re safe, respected and paid your legal entitlements at work.
My name is Scott and I am an electrician from the Eastern Suburbs of Melbourne. I finished my electrical apprenticeship 2 years ago and to this day I still reflect on my time as an apprentice. I love my trade that I spent 4 years learning but whenever I look back at my time as an apprentice, I cannot forget the suffering I experienced under multiple dodgy bosses. I knew nothing about my rights as an apprentice and what I should expect. Bosses used this against me and at every turn, tried to get away with exploiting me. I wish I knew then what I know now. I could have protected myself from being exploited at work and would not be left with the physical and mental scars.
Your boss must provide you with a training contract
When a boss takes you on as an apprentice, you will be required to sign a training contract. If you do not sign a training contract then you are technically not an apprentice despite the boss telling you otherwise. If you are not an apprentice then you should be paid a higher wage.
Your boss must let you go to TAFE
TAFE is an important component of your learning as an apprentice. The majority of apprentices do TAFE based learning and your boss must release you to attend TAFE. It doesn’t matter if your boss is busy or doesn’t want you to go, your training is essential for the completion of your apprenticeship.
Your boss must pay for your training
Depending on the Award you are working under, most apprentices have their training paid for by the boss. The boss must either pay for the training themselves or you can pay for it and be reimbursed after you have completed a certain amount of your training.
You have a right to speak up
Whether you are an apprentice or not, we all have a basic set of workplace rights. The most important workplace right anyone has is the right to speak up about workplace issues. Your boss cannot treat you differently because you have raised a concern about pay, safety, bullying or harassment. Never forget that as an apprentice you have a voice.
Remember you can always reach out to the Young Workers Centre. If you have any questions about your rights as an apprentice you can giveus a call on 1800 714 754 or email us at [email protected].