Assistance and support for apprentices and trainees with disabilities is available from a range of sources. Support is best arranged at the commencement of employment and included in the training plan.
Support needs to be arranged as quickly as possible to ensure the best learning outcomes. Training organisations should provide information about the skills and abilities that are required for successful participation in apprenticeship and traineeship qualifications.
Where a TAFE institute is the training organisation of choice for your apprenticeship or traineeship, disability services officers are available to negotiate with all parties for the support required. Where the training organisation of choice is a private training organisation, the apprentice or trainee needs should be discussed with an appropriate representative of the training organisation.
Practical support is available for apprentices and trainees with a disability, including:
- sign language interpreters
- specialist support personnel e.g. notetakers, scribes
Adaptive equipment is also available, including:
- large computer monitors, joystick controls or switch controls
- software programs which could include magnification, screen reading or voice recognition
- specialised furniture and keyboards
- training in assistive/adaptive equipment or software for staff and students.
These services are subject to eligibility criteria. Please read the ATIS-011 Disability Assistance information sheet or phone Apprenticeships Info on 1800 210 210.
As part of their standards as a registered training organisation, training organisations are required to adhere to principles of access and equity which include provision of support services (e.g. support for those with language, literacy and numeracy difficulties).
An apprentice, trainee or employer of an apprentice or trainee who requires learning support should talk to their training organisation for assistance. Where the apprenticeship or traineeship is school-based, any learning difficulties should be discussed as part of the student's senior education and training (SET) planning process.
Training organisations should provide information to schools about the underpinning language, literacy and numeracy skills that are required for successful participation in school-based apprenticeship and traineeship (SAT) qualifications.
When creating the training plan, a training organisation is required to conduct a literacy/ numeracy assessment to determine if the student has the necessary prerequisite literacy and numeracy skills. If the student does not have the underpinning literacy and numeracy skills, the training organisation, school, student and parent should carefully consider whether the chosen qualification is appropriate for the student to undertake as a SAT.
As part of the Australian Qualifications Framework, the training organisation is required to provide a reasonable amount of training to help the student acquire the language, literacy and numeracy skills required for the competencies contained in their SAT.
Schools have a responsibility to provide students with English/literacy, maths/numeracy as part of the school curriculum. Schools need to ensure that the school-based learning supports students to acquire the necessary literacy and numeracy skills to equip them for their future.
Learning support for school-based apprentices and trainees is ultimately a shared responsibility between the training organisation and the school. For more information about learning support, talk to the training organisation or the school.
As well as providing advice and assistance with the everyday issues of apprenticeships and traineeships, the department recognises the need to support apprentices, trainees, employers and training organisations when more serious concerns arise.
Some of the issues facing apprentices and trainees that may require assistance include:
- communication problems
- workplace mediation
- negotiation and conflict resolution
- emotional and mental health issues
- personal issues
- absenteeism and behavioural issues.
If an issue has the potential to impact on the school-based apprentice's or trainee's training contract, please phone Apprenticeships Info on 1800 210 210 for further assistance. Where an issue requires specialist attention, the department will refer the apprentice or trainee to an appropriate community-based or government agency for further assistance. To learn more, read the ATIS-004 Assistance and support information sheet.
Support and advocacy
During the term of an apprenticeship or traineeship, the department [or the Australian Apprenticeships Centre (AAC) for the training contract] may be involved in decision making around registered training contracts, e.g. cancellation or amendment. If this occurs, apprentices or trainees and their employers may be requested to verbally respond or submit written information to the department (or AAC).
Parties may choose to obtain legal support or advice to assist throughout this process. There are state-wide services that may be accessed by apprentices or trainees or employers to obtain support or assistance in relation to all types of employment issues. To learn more, read the ATIS-004 Assistance and support information sheet which also includes a list of support agencies.
Fair treatment in the workplace
As an apprentice or trainee, you should be treated the same as any other employee. It's set out in Queensland what is and isn't acceptable - or fair - in regards to the treatment and behaviours that can go on in workplaces.
Workplace harassment can include:
behaviour that is repeated, unwelcome and unsolicited
behaviour that you consider to be offensive, intimidating, humiliating or threatening
behaviour that a reasonable person would consider to be offensive, humiliating, intimidating or threatening
ridicule (e.g. name calling, racist jokes)
physical and emotional intimidation (e.g. physical threats or abuse, display of threatening or offensive slogans).
In addition, it can be illegal to be treated unfairly because of your:
sex, relationship or parental status
religious or political beliefs
lawful sexual activity
Unfair treatment based on any of these attributes may constitute discrimination, sexual harassment, victimisation or vilification.
If you feel you are being treated unfairly, you need to do something about it:
keep a diary of the times you feel you have been bullied or harassed - write down as much as you can about what happened and the names of people who would support your claims
approach the person, or someone you feel comfortable with in charge of that person, and request it stops
find out if your workplace has someone who is the contact person for bullying or harassment issues - perhaps the workplace health and safety officer - and they can help you address the problem
talk to your union.
If you feel you are being treated unfairly at work you should take action as soon as possible. This may be difficult, but will provide the best chance to work through the problem. Phone Apprenticeships Info on 1800 210 210 for further information.