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Young Workers Centre YWC
Workplace Rights Apprentice Training

We are excited to announce that, thanks to funding from Apprenticeships Victoria, we are rolling out on-campus training to all Victorian TAFEs to equip first-year apprentices with knowledge of their workplace rights and empower them to speak up to address workplace issues.

Sadly, the percentage of apprentices reaching out to the YWC is increasing each year.  

In 2022, 70% of YWC legal clients were apprentices. They reached out to us from a range of industries about often a hybrid of issues, including but not limited to, wage theft, bullying, harassment, and other Occupational Health and Safety issues. 

Apprenticeship completion rates are low, at around 53% in Victoria., Astudy by The National Centre for Vocational Education Research foundthat the way apprentices are treated in their employment is the core reason why young workers are withdrawing from their apprenticeships, not the education they are receiving at TAFE.

In a report released last year by the McKell Institute they note that the need for support has grown considerably, with 3-times growth in percentage of apprentices who need support to understand their contract obligations.  

Given young workers’ disproportionate exposure to wage theft, bullying and unsafe workplaces in Victoria, knowing their workplace rights and where to get help are core life skills that young Victorians need to enter the workforce safely.  

We strongly believe that we can limit the risk to young people through education and the integration of comprehensive workplace rights education is key to equipping young workers to advocate for themselves at work and keep them safe early on in their working life.  

We want to support apprentices to affect change in their workplaces, so that the workplaces themselves are more conducive to apprenticeship success, and so that apprentices are better aware of how to address issues that arise at any stage of their employment.   

The four training modules will be delivered to all first-year apprentices in each TAFE with a subsequent opportunity for any apprentice unable to attend the initial training date will also be made available online. 

  1. Apprentice Readiness - apprentices will gain an understanding of their training contract, training plan and a basic rundown of workplace information including pay slips. 
  1. Your rights at work - this will equip apprentices with an understanding of employment laws. 
  2. Occupational Health and Safety - apprentices will gain a practical understanding of OH&S procedures and laws, the role of HSRs and how to keep safe at work. 
  3. Bullying and Discrimination at work - apprentices will learn what constitutes workplace bullying, sexual harassment, and discrimination, as well as the necessary tools for responding to these issues. 

The modules can be delivered in full during a half-day session or individual modules are delivered in approximately 45 minutes. 

The presentations are relevant for all first-year apprentices, but the delivery will be adapted, within reason, depending on group size, room set up and cohorts. 

From time to time, young workers will speak with the YWC Outreach Organiser about an issue they are dealing with at the end of the presentation. In this instance we will encourage apprentices to seek support through their Apprentice Support Officer, TAFE services or we can complete a referral to the YWC legal team should the apprentice wish to do so. 

If you are a TAFE teacher or staff member and are interested in booking an Outreach Organiser to deliver workplace rights training to apprentices at your TAFE please contact the Young Workers Centre at [email protected] for more.