Dealing with problems
I don't have a training plan for my apprentice or trainee
Every apprentice and trainee must have a training plan that outlines the training to be delivered by both the employer and the training organisation. The training plan should be negotiated and signed during the apprentice's or trainee's probationary period (that is, during the first 90 days for apprentices, or the first 30 days for trainees).
If you don't have a signed training plan, and your apprentice's or trainee's probationary period is completed, you should talk to your training organisation, in the first instance, about the need to develop a training plan. Contact Apprenticeships Info on 1800 210 210 if you require further advice and assistance.
Business is slow
Should you be unable to provide the range of work required to train your apprentice or trainee, there are a number of options available:
- If you are employing your apprentice or trainee through a group training organisation, contact the group training organisation to arrange placement for your apprentice or trainee with another employer.
- You may be able to negotiate with your training organisation for your apprentice or trainee to attend off-the-job training during the slow period.
- You and your apprentice or trainee can arrange for the apprentice or trainee to temporarily work with another employer to obtain training and experience in the apprenticeship or traineeship. This process is known as temporary assignment.
- You can negotiate for your apprentice or trainee to take annual leave to cover the slow period.
- You can apply for temporary stand down of the apprentice or trainee until your capacity to train them improves. Temporary stand down is essentially unpaid leave and can include employing your apprentice or trainee for less than the full working week. The apprentice or trainee may also be able to unrelated work in an alternative workplace during the stand down period. The maximum period of stand down is 30 days, and stand downs must be approved by the department before commencing. Read more on this on the Employer temporarily unable to provide work information sheet.
- As a last resort, cancellation of the apprenticeship or traineeship may need to be considered.
It is recommended that you contact Apprenticeships Info on 1800 210 210 before pursuing any of the above options.
My apprentice or trainee is failing to make reasonable progress
A training plan must exist for each apprentice or trainee and detail, among other things, the competencies to be achieved during the apprenticeship or traineeship and the milestones for achieving those competencies. The training record documents the apprentice's or trainee's progress towards achievements of competencies and should be based on the agreed content of the training plan.
The parties to the training contract are required to choose a training organisation to supervise training during the apprenticeship or traineeship. The training organisation is responsible for ensuring that the training required to be delivered under the apprentice's or trainee's training plan is delivered to the apprentice or trainee.
If your apprentice or trainee fails to achieve a particular competence by the date scheduled in the training plan, the training organisation must work with you and your apprentice or trainee to negotiate a strategy to assist the apprentice or trainee to continue to successful completion of the apprenticeship or traineeship. The strategy could involve, for example, extra tuition and assessment, broader workplace experience, or rescheduling the timetable for achieving particular competencies to align them with a time when workplace experience in those competencies will be available. You and your apprentice or trainee and your training organisation will need to review the training plan and amend it if necessary.
If the agreed strategy proves unsuccessful and you decide the apprentice or trainee is failing to make reasonable progress in the apprenticeship or traineeship overall, or if the training cannot be completed within the nominal term of the training contract, you must notify the department of this event in writing within 14 days. The department will then take appropriate action. A number of avenues are open to the department, such as imposing a fine on an apprentice or trainee who fails to make reasonable progress in training for the apprenticeship or traineeship because their deliberate neglect or default. Before taking such action, however, the department will give the parties the opportunity to comment on the issues raised in the investigation, as part of the decision-making process.
Read more on the Failure to make reasonable progress information sheet.
I need to discipline my apprentice or trainee for misconduct
If your apprentice or trainee does not do the right thing, you can do something about it.
You should contact the department on 1800 210 210 before disciplinary action is taken if your apprentice or trainee:
- fails to carry out a reasonable and lawful instruction consistent with the training contract obligations
- is absent from work without approval
- fails to attend training required under the training plan
- does not participate in training provided under the training plan
- does not keep a training record, or fails to produce the training record on request
- makes unsatisfactory progress in their training
- causes serious damage, or risk of serious damage, to your business or business reputation.
Depending on the situation, a range of actions may be taken by the department, including:
- a reprimand
- a fine
- written direction to comply with the training contract
- suspension without pay
- cancellation of the training contract.
Read more in the following resources:
- Apprentice and trainee responsibilities information sheet
- Discipline information sheet
- Fair procedures information sheet.
I need to suspend or cancel my apprentice or trainee for serious misconduct
It is advisable that, before you take action to suspend an apprentice or trainee for serious misconduct, you contact the department through Apprenticeships Info on 1800 210 210 to discuss the matter. The process for managing suspension and cancellation for serious misconduct requires that specified actions be taken within strict timeframes.
An employer who has a training contract with an apprentice or trainee may immediately suspend the training contract for one day if the apprentice or trainee engages in serious misconduct and, because of that misconduct, the employer decides it is unreasonable to continue training the apprentice or trainee at that time.
The Vocational Education, Training and Employment Act 2000 defines serious misconduct as:
- theft, assault and/or fraud
- being under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol at work
- at work, causing imminent risk of serious bodily injury or work caused illness or a dangerous event occurring
- behaving at work in a way that is inconsistent with the continuation of a registered training contract.
Skills Queensland or its delegate may confirm or refuse to confirm the suspension, and/or cancel or refuse to cancel the training contract.
Read more about the specific actions required in the case of suspension and cancellation on the Serious misconduct stakeholder reference on the Training website.
I'm not happy with my Australian Apprenticeships Centre
Australian Apprenticeships Centres are required to fulfil a number of responsibilities as part of their contract with the Commonwealth Government, including:
- providing general information on apprenticeships and traineeships
- providing information on available training organisations
- helping you complete and lodge the training contract
- providing advice on your eligibility for Commonwealth Government incentives and allowances
- making regular contact with you and your apprentice or trainee to check on the progress of training.
If you wish to make a complaint, you should contact your Australian Apprenticeships Centre in the first instance, as they are required to have a complaint resolution process in place. If you have already been through this process, you may contact the Australian Apprenticeships Referral Line on 13 38 73.