Addressing barriers to employmen by niusheng11

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									Addressing barriers to employment and training of traditional trade
apprentices in the Australian mining industry


National Centre for Vocational Education Research

Final report
ABN 87 007 967 311

Level 11, 33 King William Street, Adelaide, SA 5000
PO Box 8288 Station Arcade, Adelaide SA 5000, Australia

ph +61 8 8230 8400 fax +61 8 8212 3436
email ncver@ncver.edu.au
http://www.ncver.edu.au
                                                                                  Contents
                              Contents                                                                     3
                              Tables and figures                                                           6
                              Executive summary                                                            8
                                  About the study                                                          8
                                  Skill shortages in the mining sector                                     8
                                  ‗Fast-tracking‘ the completion of training                               8
                                  Funding and incentives                                                  11
                                  Barriers to employment and training                                     11
                                  Conclusions                                                             13
                                  Recommendations for the mining industry and mining companies            13
                              Introduction                                                                16
                                  I. Aims                                                                 16
                                  II. Background                                                          16
                                  III. Objectives                                                         18
                                  IV. Methodology                                                         19
                                  V. Organisation of the report                                           19
                              Australian apprenticeships and traineeships                                 20
                                  I. Similar but ‗separate‘ systems                                       20
                                  II. Early sign-off                                                      24
                                  III. Overseas skilled workers                                           26
                                  IV. Summary                                                             27
                              Training participation                                                      29
                                  I. Training activity                                                    29
                                  II. Age of apprentices and trainees                                     32
                                  III. Gender of apprentices and trainees                                 32
                                  IV. Nominal durations of training contracts                             33
                                  V. Existing workers                                                     34
                                  VI. Summary                                                             35
                              Employer and employee satisfaction with training                            36
                                  I. Employer satisfaction with meeting skill needs                       36
                                  Employer satisfaction with quality of training                          37
                                  II. Graduate satisfaction with quality of training                      37
                                  VET graduates in the mining industry                                    38
                                  III. Graduate satisfaction with career prospects                        39
                                  VET graduates in the mining industry                                    40
                                  IV. Graduate satisfaction with training opportunities                   41
                                  VET graduates in the mining industry                                    43
                                  V. Summary                                                              43
                              ‗Fast-tracking‘ across jurisdictions                                        44
                                  I. Background                                                           44
                                  II. The concept of fast-tracking                                        44
                                  III. State and territory strategies                                     45
                                  III. Perceived benefits and disadvantages of piloted ‗fast-tracking‘ models
                                                                                                          47
                                  IV. Summary                                                             50
                              Funding and incentive programs                                              51
                                  I. Commonwealth government funding arrangements                         51
                                  Commonwealth incentives                                                 51
                                  II. Summary                                                             54
                                  III. State and territory government funding and incentives              55


National Centre for Vocational Education Research                                                           3
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                  New South Wales                                                                            56
                  Victoria                                                                                   56
                  Queensland                                                                                 58
                  Western Australia                                                                          59
                  Tasmania                                                                                   60
                  South Australia                                                                            60
                  Australian Capital Territory                                                               61
                  Northern Territory                                                                         61
                  IV. Summary                                                                                62
             Employer and employee perspectives on ‗fast-tracking‘                                           64
                  I. Employer perspectives on ‗fast-tracking‘                                                64
                  II. Union perspectives on ‗fast-tracking‘                                                  67
                  III. Summary                                                                               71
             Barriers to employment, training and ‗fast-tracking‘                                            72
                  I. General barriers to the employment and training of apprentices and
                  trainees                                                                                   72
                  II. Disincentives for employer and employees in the mining sector                          74
                  Employers                                                                                  74
                  Employees                                                                                  75
                  Summary                                                                                    78
                  III. Barriers to ‗fast-tracked‘ apprenticeships in the mining sector                       78
                  IV. Summary                                                                                83
             Pay and conditions                                                                              84
                  I. Federal and state awards                                                                84
                  II. Australian Workplace Agreements                                                        86
                  III. Rates of pay for workers in the mining industry                                       87
                  IV. Survey of apprentice wages                                                             89
                  V. School-based apprenticeships and traineeships                                           90
                  VI. Summary                                                                                90
             System reforms                                                                                  91
                  I. Initial reforms                                                                         91
                  II. Flexible apprenticeships                                                               91
                  III. Current reforms                                                                       93
                  IV. Strategy for achieving national system                                                 94
                  V. Workplace relations reforms                                                             95
                  VI. Summary                                                                                95
             Conclusions and recommendations                                                                 97
                  I. Conclusions                                                                            97
                  a. Preserving competency-based training approaches                                        97
                  b. Modifying contract provisions                                                          98
                  c. Protecting rights to full qualifications                                              100
                  d. Extending the recruitment pool                                                        101
                  e. Improving incentives and conditions                                                   102
                  f. Ensuring adequate resources                                                           103
                  II. Recommendations                                                                      104
                  a. Recommended strategies for the mining industry as a whole                             104
                  b. Recommendations for individual companies                                              107
             References                                                                                    109
             Appendix A                                                                                    112
                  Stakeholder organisations and individuals interviewed                                    112
             Appendix B                                                                                    115
                  User Choice arrangements                                                                 115
             Appendix C                                                                                    119
                  Fast-tracking across states and territories                                              119
                  1. Fast-tracking in New South Wales                                                      119


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                  Mature age workers project                                                               119
                  New entrants                                                                             120
                  Credit transfer                                                                          120
                  Pre-vocational programs                                                                  120
                  Career Progression                                                                       121
                  2. Fast-tracking in Victoria                                                             122
                  3. Fast-tracking in Queensland                                                           124
                  4. Fast-tracking in Western Australia                                                    127
                  5. Fast-tracking in South Australia                                                      129
                  6. Fast-tracking in Tasmania                                                             132
                  7. ‗Fast-tracking‘ in the Australian Capital Territory                                   132
                  8. Fast-tracking in the Northern Territory                                               134
                  Fast-tracking in other industries                                                        134
             Appendix D                                                                                    137
                  Perceived benefits and disadvantages of ‗fast-tracking‘ models                           137
             Appendix E                                                                                    138
                  Federal and State Awards                                                                 138
                  Australian Workplace Agreements                                                          138
             Appendix F:                                                                                   140
                  Base full-time weekly wages for apprentices and trainees                                 140




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                                            Tables and figures
             Table 1: Percentage of apprenticeship and trainee commencements in
                 top 20 Training Packages, March Quarter 2005 by state and
                 territory                                                        23
             Table 2: Early sign off conditions across states and territories     24
             Table 3: Early sign off completions as a proportion of all completions
                 for selected training packages                                   26
             Table 4: Apprentice and Trainee Commencements 12 months
                 December 2004 for Mining Industry (ANZSIC = B), by Training
                 Package                                                          30
             Table 5: Apprentice and Trainee Commencements 12 months
                 December 2004 for Selected Training Packages (MNQ, MNM,
                 MNC, DRT, BCC), by Industry                                      30
             Table 6: Apprentice and Trainee Commencements, 12 months
                 December for Selected Training Packages (MNQ, MNM, MNC,
                 DRT, BCC), 2001-2004                                             31
             Table 7: Employer satisfaction with apprentices and trainees in
                 meeting their skill needs by industry                            36
             Table 8: Employer satisfaction with quality of training from main
                 formal training provider for apprentices and trainees by industry
                         37
             Table 9: Satisfaction with quality of training, of graduates who enrolled
                 in training due to an apprenticeship or traineeship, by occupation
                 and industry of employment after training                        38
             Table 10: Satisfaction with quality of training, of graduates who
                 enrolled in training due to an apprenticeship or traineeship, who
                 were employed in the mining industry after employment, by
                 occupation of employment after training                          39
             Table 11: Satisfaction with job career prospects after training, of
                 graduates who enrolled in training due to an apprenticeship or
                 traineeship, by occupation and industry of employment after
                 training                                                         40
             Table 12: Satisfaction with current job career prospects of graduates
                 who enrolled in training due to an apprenticeship or traineeship,
                 who were employed in the mining industry after training, by
                 occupation of employment after training                          41
             Table 13: Satisfaction with job after training, of graduates who
                 enrolled in training due to an apprenticeship or traineeship, by
                 occupation and industry of employment after training             42
             Table 14: Satisfaction with job after training, of graduates who
                 enrolled in training due to an apprenticeship or traineeship, who
                 were working in the mining industry after training, by occupation
                 of employment after training                                     43
             Table 15: Fast track program components by State locations.          47
             Table 16: Benefits and disadvantages as perceived by respondents 50
             Table 17: Summary table of Commonwealth government incentives
                 for apprentices and trainees                                     55
             Table 18 Summary table of state and territory government incentives
                         62
             Table 19: Summary of employer and union perspectives on fast-
                 tracking                                                         71



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                                                                              in the minerals industry
                              Table 20: Perceived barriers to employment and training of
                                  apprentices and trainees for mining and other industry sectors 78
                              Table 21: Employer and employee stakeholder perceived barriers to
                                  fast-tracking apprenticeships and traineeships in the mining
                                  industry and other sectors                                       83
                              Table 22: Major legislation and award provisions for apprenticeships
                                  and traineeships by state and territory                          85
                              Table 23: Total AWAs approved for apprentice/trainees in the last 3
                                  years (Nov 2002 - Oct 2005).                                     87
                              Table 24: Number of AWAs for apprentices and trainees by age 87
                              Table 25: Average and total apprentice and trainee wage costs for
                                  employers in the mineral industry                                88
                              Table C1: Perceived benefits and disadvantages of ‗fast-tracking‘ by
                                  industry sector                                                137
                              Table E1: Base full-time weekly wages for apprentices and trainees
                                  under NSW state awards                                         140




                              Figure 1: Locations of operating mines across states and territories 16
                              Figure 2: Commencements in the 12 months ending December 1996-
                                  2004 21
                              Figure 3: Apprenticeship training rates (commencements, completions
                                  and in-training) in Mining industry, 12 months to December,
                                  1999 to 2004                                                     29
                              Figure 4: Apprenticeship and traineeship commencements in Mining
                                  industry by selected training packages, 12 months to December
                                  2004, by Age                                                     32
                              Figure 5: Apprenticeship commencements in Mining industry by
                                  selected training packages, 12 months to December 2004, by
                                  Gender                                                           33
                              Figure 6: Apprenticeship and traineeship commencements in Mining
                                  industry by selected training packages, 12 months to December
                                  2004, by Training Duration                                       33
                              Figure 7: Apprentice and Trainee Commencements in Mining
                                  industry, 12 months to December 2004, by Employer Size           34
                              Figure 8: Apprenticeship and traineeship commencements in Mining
                                  industry by selected training packages, 12 months to December
                                  2004, by Existing Worker status                                  35




National Centre for Vocational Education Research                                                   7
                                                    Executive summary
About the study
The aim of this study was to identify strategies which will help the mining industry address
barriers to the employment and training of apprentices and trainees in the traditional trades. A
particular focus was to identify different models that are being implemented and trialled for
accelerating the completion of training contracts.

Information for the study was provided by a variety of stakeholder groups either through
telephone interviews or published and unpublished submissions and reports. These include
individuals who have been specifically involved in formal efforts to accelerate the completion of
traditional apprenticeships (comprising government officials in charge of specific programs and
training providers), stakeholder representatives (including employers, employer groups and union
officials within the mining industry, occupations servicing the industry, a small group of current
apprentices and trainees). Information was also provided by government officials involved in the
processing of visas for migrant workers. Current details on training activity and training
outcomes have also been used to indicate employer and employee satisfaction with training
within the mining industry and across industry and occupational groupings.


Skill shortages in the mining sector
Issues of skill shortages in the traditional trades are evident within Australia and overseas. A
recent study of the mining industry conducted by the National Centre for Vocational Education
Research (NCVER) in conjunction with National Institute for Labour Studies (NILS) identified
that skill shortages although more pronounced in remote areas, varied across locations and
trades. The study reported that there was a particular shortage of: mechanical fitters (heavy diesel,
mechanical technicians, shovel fitters, drill fitters and schedulers); electricians (particularly those
with high voltage experience), and automotive electricians (heavy vehicles); boilermakers;
explosive operators; instrumentation technicians, and supervisory personnel with relevant trade
experience. These deficits were found to be due to high turnover of tradespeople (often due to
the poaching of such workers by companies prepared to pay higher wages), an increase in
projects requiring higher order trade skills, the poor image of mining work in general, location
and lifestyle choices, and a lack of investment by the sector in apprenticeship and traineeship
training.


‗Fast-tracking‘ the completion of training
The approach to the acceleration of apprenticeship completion or ‗fast-tracking‘ as it has been
called has captured the imagination of policy makers and industry stakeholders as a way to
address the skill shortages issue in relevant occupations (namely in building and construction,
aviation, automotive, manufacturing, engineering, mining, and hospitality). For the mining
industry the main occupations in shortage are in the mechanical, electrical, metal fabrication,
welding and fitting and machining, and drilling trades.

It is clear that in the main industries which are looking to accelerate skills development are doing
so under already existing approaches to completion based on the achievement of competencies


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to industry standards. Early completion of apprenticeships has generally been available to
apprentices under existing legislation across states and territories. With the introduction of
Competency-based Training during the era of Training Reforms in the late 1980s and early 1990s
it was hoped that the achievement of competencies would enable the apprentice to achieve
tradesman status earlier than the required nominal duration of the contract of training. It was
hoped that this would help to re-dress the negative aspects of the ‗time-serving‘ concepts of
apprenticeship.

Since then, the acceleration of completion has generally been available for satisfactory acquisition
of the competencies provided in the off-the-job components of the training programs. What has
generally not been negotiable has been the time duration of contracts. The nominal term
duration of training contracts still endure and in most jurisdictions apprentices still sign on for
the nominal 4-year duration (even in pilot programs trialling the ‗fast-tracking‘ approach).
Nevertheless in Western Australia the Metals Industry Working Group (a committee of the Skills
Formation Task Force) has completed consultations with industry stakeholders to alter the
expected durations of contracts from 4 years to 3.5 years for engineering trades (including
fabrication, mechanical, aircraft maintenance technician), and ship-wrighting and boatbuilding
trades. So far the working group has concentrated on obtaining agreement for changes to
occupations in streams which account for the majority of enrolments and are also experiencing
skill shortages. It will then concentrate on other trades [including electrical, jewellery, and watch
and clock repairing, and toolmaking and jig-making (metal furniture)]. Within these arrangements
there will continue to be scope for applying competency-based approaches to completing
contracts earlier than the expected durations.

In the main the ‗fast-tracking‘ concept has been applied to skills shortage areas. This has been
done by recruiting to apprenticeship programs existing workers (for example, trades assistants
who do not have the necessary qualifications, or other existing workers who have the work and
life experience expected in an occupation). The acceleration of contract completion is made
possible by recognising the current skills knowledge and competencies of these workers through
formal processes for recognition of prior learning (RPL) or current competencies (RCC). For
new entrants there are industries (including the mining, automotive and construction industries)
which have implemented specific strategies to accelerate the completion of training contracts.
These include increased use of intensive up-front training, more frequent block training, more
regular supervisory on-site visits to apprentices and trainees by supervising registered training
organisations(RTOs), and extending the number and quality of tasks being undertaken by
apprentices and trainees in work and in simulated workplace situations. Some industry training
providers (namely Construction Industry Training and Employment Association in the ACT)
have implemented a program where apprentices have access to multiple qualifications during
their four-year term. In this program apprentices may also enter the higher qualification pathway
of the cadetship, which enables them to complete a trade qualification (for example, Certificate
III in Carpentry and Joinery), and a para-professional qualification (at Certificate IV, diploma or
advanced diploma levels).

The Queensland Smart Skills program has also been established to increase the traditional and
technical skills pool in an accelerated time frame. A number of pilots have been established to
trial the accelerated approach. Apprentices and trainees are still required to sign the traditional
four-year contract but their programs are aimed at having apprentices signed off early. In general
a shorter target of 18 months is for mature age workers with experience, a 24 month target is for
commercial cookery and printing, a 30 month target is for building and construction trades, and
a 36 month target is for manufacturing and engineering trades.

New South Wales, Western Australia and Tasmania have established or are planning to establish
specific programs for accelerating the completion of training contracts for existing workers with
experience. New South Wales has also implemented a TradeStart in TAFE program which is


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dedicated to fast-tracking apprenticeships by enabling students to commence a pre-
apprenticeship program and matching graduates to employers wishing to take on apprentices.
The Western Australian program mainly relates to engineering trades. However apprentices and
trainees in current programs still sign on for the traditional duration of the program. There are
currently plans (to be ratified by government) to shorten the duration of apprenticeships in the
engineering trades. The Northern Territory has implemented concepts of intensive up-front
training followed by on-the-job employment and training to accelerate apprentices through their
training contracts. Childcare programs in South Australia and New South Wales have also applied
the fast-track approach by using RPL and RCC assessments for existing workers with experience.

Union and employer views on ‗fast-tracking‘
Both unions and employer stakeholders in the mining industry are in favour of the concept of
applying the arrangements available for early sign off under the competency-based arrangements
already available. However, both groups are keen not to compromise training quality for short-
term skill deficit gains. Both unions and employer groups are in favour of accelerating the
completion of training contracts for existing workers with relevant industry and occupational
expertise and experience. However unions are particularly opposed to any fragmentation of
qualifications, in part because it is felt that such a stance will lead to a reduction of the range of
skills available to the industry in the long term, and in part because it will also reduce the range of
skills available to tradespersons themselves. Although there is some employer support for
segmenting or compartmentalising qualifications to meet current skill deficits, this support is not
widespread. Where employers support segmentation of qualifications it is with the caveat that the
tradesperson should then go on to complete the full suite of competencies associated with full
qualifications. However, it is also agreed that there are risks identified with this approach, which
are associated with lack of incentives for the tradesperson to complete the full qualifications. This
will then mean that there are risks that the full suite of skills will also be lost to industry in the
future. Employers are also concerned about retaining the quality of skills training. There was
general support for the broad-based approach to occupational development.

There is a general view among employer and union stakeholders that it makes sense to review the
traditional contract durations to see whether or not they can be reduced to take account of
changes in technology and work expectations. However, there is also a view that the licensed
trades (specifically electrical and plumbing trades) should retain the traditional 4-year term
duration to safe-guard quality and safety standards. There is also a concern among unions that
‗fast-tracking‘ may lead to parity of esteem issues especially if such approaches are not also
implemented evenly across jurisdictions. The ACTU is especially keen to see that arrangements
are considered on an industry-by-industry basis.

Intensive up-front training has been used in some programs to accelerate the completion of off-
the-job training requirements. However, there is also a view that the traditional concept of
combining concurrent training and employment should be preserved as a way to ensure that the
apprentice acquires the theoretical skills concurrently with the employment-based practical skills.

Apprentices and trainees in the mining sector are well-paid in comparison with their counterparts
in other industries. This is also acknowledged by apprentices and trainees themselves.
Nevertheless beginning apprentices in traditional trades in other sectors continue to receive lower
wages than school-leavers in other industries, namely the service industries (for example,
hospitality, cafes and accommodation and retail sectors).

 Where some unions had some reservations about school-based apprenticeships and traineeships,
employers were generally in favour of such arrangements. Employers were also in favour of
government initiatives (for example, Australian Technical Colleges), and were especially keen on
the development and implementation of national regulatory and licensing arrangements.


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Funding and incentives
The NCVER/NILS (2005) report identified that the mining industry would do well to look at
increasing employer incentive to participate in the training of apprentices and trainees. However,
it makes also sense to examine the different and extensive type of incentives already provided to
employers by Commonwealth and State and Territory governments. In addition the
Commonwealth and State and Territory governments provide and administer funding
arrangements for other components of apprenticeships and traineeships. At times
Commonwealth and state and territory funding covers separate initiatives, at others there is
overlap between the two.

Typically Commonwealth funding relates to employer and intermediary incentives for the
employment and training of apprentices and trainees (including those in school-based programs)
as well as additional subsidies for the employment and training of apprentices and trainees from
special groups. Special groups include mature age workers, females in non-traditional
occupations, existing workers with Certificate II qualifications, individuals from disability groups,
and indigenous Australians. There are also specific incentives for the employment of apprentices
and or trainees in sports operations programs, innovation programs, non-metropolitan areas with
specific skill shortages, and areas designated as being in exceptional circumstances (for example,
drought). Funding is also available for employers who employ an out of trade apprentice.
Apprentices and trainees themselves are also eligible for Commonwealth incentives (including
tool boxes, living away from home allowances and where eligible AUSTUDY, ABSTUDY and
Youth Allowance). There is Commonwealth funding for scholarships for apprentices and
trainees in medium and small companies, and preparing eligible participants to enter
apprenticeship and traineeship programs. The Commonwealth government has also established
the Institute for Trade Skills Excellence, which recognises excellence in trade training and also
awards financial incentives for teachers.

The administration of Commonwealth user choice funding and state funding regimes will vary
across jurisdictions. User Choice administration varies in terms of what is or is not available for
the training of existing workers, and the coverage of specific initiatives by RTOs. There is also
state and territory funding for specific initiatives (including the implementation of industry-
specific programs, new qualifications, accelerated programs, recognition of prior learning
processes, information technology training, community programs). There are also state-based
employer incentives for the employment and training of apprentices and trainees (including
payroll exemptions or subsidies, incentives for employment of school-based apprentices and
trainees, and individuals with a disability, indigenous Australians, and women in non-traditional
trade areas). Incentives for apprentices and trainees include travel and accommodation expenses
and work equipment and materials. In Queensland there is additional funding for RTOs to
administer recognition of prior learning processes. In Victoria there is additional funding for
RTOs who provide training support for the growth of industry skills and community
improvement.


Barriers to employment and training
Although the major barriers to the employment and training of apprentices and trainees in the
traditional trades in the mining industry continue to be concerned with location and life style
issues, it is interesting to note that mining companies that have decided to employ their own
apprentices and trainees are not experiencing shortages of applicants. However, it is important to
note that tradespeople in the mining industry are often involved in operating and maintaining
equipment. This means that the time they have to train apprentices and trainees will also be
reduced. High staff turnover may also be another limiting factor. It is also important to note that


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a substantial part of the maintenance of equipment and facilities in the mining sector is
undertaken by contractors which may either be large enterprises or small businesses. This may
also provide a barrier to the employment of apprentices and trainees. Incentives for contractors
to take on apprentices in some states are also limited by the inability of contractors in some states
to include the cost of apprentices within quotes for services. Another barrier may also be created
by the number of tradespersons leaving the industry because of retirement and other factors.

In addition, the number of tradespersons in the industry dramatically exceeds the number of
apprentices. The focus on employing tradespeople without focussing on an effective plans to
replace tradespeople as they retire or leave the industry may also be another barrier to the
employment of apprentices. However, those companies who have decided to employ their own
apprentices have been inundated with applications for apprenticeships. This reflects the
increasing availability of young people (in certain locations) to take up apprenticeships.

Industrial Relations (IR) barriers to the employment and training of apprentices and trainees in
the mining industry are minimal. However, in some states service contracts may not include the
cost of apprentices, and in other states apprentices and trainees under the age of 18 years are
restricted from working underground.

Nevertheless barriers and disincentives for both employers and employees to participate in
apprenticeship and traineeship training in other industries are associated with industrial relations
and regulations. Workplace relations and wages is noted as a key reason given by those who
decide to discontinue their training programs. Although the employers interviewed for this study
did not highlight the cost of employment of apprentices and trainees as a disincentive,
traditionally there has not been a high mining industry commitment to the training and
employment of apprentices and trainees, and many companies have preferred to buy in already
qualified tradesperson.

Another disincentive to the employment and training of apprentices and trainees across
industries is bureaucratic burden associated with complying with administrative and regulatory
requirements. In terms of RPL there is evidence that not all apprentices and trainees are aware of
RPL, and registered training organisations find the process complex, time consuming and costly.

Both employers and apprentices and trainees appear to perceive training quality as a
disincentive—albeit for different reasons. Employers want more say in training content to make
it more relevant to industry, global and business needs, and apprentices and trainees find issue
with the effectiveness of both the training and trainers.

There are also specific disincentives for employers and apprentices and trainees. Employers
regard the calibre of potential candidates for apprenticeships as poor and therefore inhibiting to
their business needs. On the other hand, apprentices and trainees find the lack of good
information and advice on career path and apprentice/traineeship, and the lack of support during
their training a key reason for discontinuing training.

Perceived barriers to ‗fast-tracking‘
The major barriers to the ‗fast-tracking‘ of apprenticeships perceived by employer and employee
stakeholder groups include concerns about reduced training quality standards if programs are
accelerated and apprentices and trainees do not get the requisite practice and on-the-job
experience. Although there is acknowledgement that the mining sector has paid a great deal of
attention to improving safety on mine-sites, there continues to be a concern with maintaining
safety standards in a number of occupations. There are also major concerns (even by
apprentices) about cutting down the duration of training contracts especially in the licensed
trades (for example, electrical and plumbing). Nevertheless there is general acceptance of
reducing the duration of apprenticeships for mature workers with experience relevant to the

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occupational tasks required. There are also concerns about the negative effects of segmentation
or fragmentation of qualifications by both employer and employee stakeholders, however
employers see some value see in the compartmentalisation of qualifications to meet immediate
skills shortages. Employers are also aware that there must be safeguards in place to ensure that
any such initiative does not lead to an erosion of certain skill sets and knowledge. Lack of
jurisdictional uniformity in the take up of fast track apprenticeships may also lead to decreased
parity of esteem issues. There is also a view that there are no incentives for RTOs to increase
provision of RPL or RCC assessments. Nevertheless the Queensland approach is to provide
incentives for RTOs to streamline their RPL provision to make it easier for the recognition of
prior experience and training.


Conclusions
This study has found that there is no magical formula to addressing the barriers to employment
and training of traditional apprentices and trainees in the mining industry. There is, however, a
need to understand that the concept of acceleration that is being applied in many of the training
models discussed in this study is already available under the competency-based approach to
training and skills progression. Keeping this in mind it makes good sense to make full use of the
capabilities available under present arrangements for early completions. It also makes sense not
to alter existing nominal durations until there is a full scale review of their utility for modern
conditions across occupations (for example, the metals industry has already gone down this track
and has in place targets to reduce contracts from 4 years to 3.5 years in certain trades). In view of
the more intense theoretical underpinnings of certain trades there may be a case for preserving
the traditional durations. In any event what is required is a customisation of nominal durations to
the needs of specific trades. Furthermore there is a need to preserve within identified nominal
durations enough flexibility to cater for learners who do not have the capacity or experience for
‗fast-tracking‘ as well as allowing those who do have the experience and the skill to move through
the apprenticeship in shorter time frames. In this regard the introduction of minimal and
maximum term durations for contracts should be further explored


Recommendations for the mining industry and mining
companies
A number of recommendations have been derived from findings of this study. These relate to
strategies that may be pursued by the industry as a whole and those that may be pursued by
individual companies. Although there has been an attempt to prioritise strategies, a number of
strategies can happen concurrently. These strategies supplement and support the strategies also
identified by the Resources and Infrastructure Industry Skills Council‘s (RIISC) Industry Skills
Report (RIISC 2005.

Strategies for industry as a whole
     1. Continue to develop industry commitment to training by consulting with industry and
        government stakeholders (employer and employee groups, training providers and
        government agencies) to develop specific skills development policies.

     2. Establish mechanisms to encourage existing and mature age workers with relevant trade
        skills and experience to undertake apprenticeships and traineeships firstly by disseminating
        information about the benefits of gaining full qualifications, secondly by providing
        adequate support and resources for individuals to prepare for RPL assessments and to
        complete their training programs, and thirdly by working closely with State Training


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         Authorities to establish suitable recognition and training arrangements. Streamline RPL
         processes to make it easier for skilled migrants to have their prior overseas experience and
         qualifications formally recognised.

     3. Disseminate information on current programs that have are being used to accelerate the
        completion of qualifications and or contracts.

     4. Investigate the industry‘s capacity to increase the number of apprentice and trainee places
        being offered. The use of Group Training Companies to support this placement should
        also be investigated.

     5. Explore the option of implementing contractual commitments with contractors about
        taking on apprentices and trainees. This would also be another avenue for addressing
        barriers to employment and training in the sector.

     6. Develop and launch campaigns to encourage students in metropolitan, regional and rural
        secondary schools and indigenous community members to enter traditional trade
        apprenticeships and traineeships. These should highlight the general benefits of training
        and trade qualifications (for example, specific skills training, accredited qualifications that
        can be transported across jurisdictions, ready access to jobs at home and abroad). They
        should also highlight the higher wage benefits and allowances associated with becoming a
        tradesperson working in the mining industry, the upgraded facilities which have addressed
        safety issues, and the relationship bonds fostered among workers in a crew.

     7. Work with local regional and rural communities including indigenous corporations and
        communities to encourage the promotion of apprenticeship and traineeship programs to
        secondary school students and those who have left school.

     8. Investigate how best to contribute to and benefit from the operation of the Institute of
        Trade Skills Excellence.

     9. Explore the benefits of introducing ‗bonded scholarships‘ which provide apprentices and
        trainees with extra financial incentives during their contracts of training and which require
        them to work in the industry for a pre-determined period of time once they complete their
        contracts of training. Such ‗bond‘ arrangements have been traditionally used in other
        sectors (for example, education) to ensure that country areas have the required workforce.

     10. Provide continued support for broad-based occupational skills development for traditional
         trades.

     11. Examine the utility of existing nominal term durations for each of the traditional trades by
         joining or forming groups (for example, a mining industry taskforce) to review these
         durations.

     12. Investigate a variety of models of acceleration and select those that make most sense for
         the mining industry. To begin with examine acceleration arrangements being used by the
         CITEA group training scheme in the ACT, TAFE Institutes providing the NSW TradeStart
         in TAFE programs, Thornlie TAFE in Western Australia, and the Printing Industry in
         conjunction with Southbank TAFE in Queensland. The apprenticeship program being
         used by Xstrata to develop tradespeople that are especially suited to the mining industry is
         also worthy of attention The apprenticeship program being used by Xstrata to develop
         tradespeople that are especially suited to the mining industry is also worthy of attention as
         are the different automotive programs being delivered by CMV and CMI in Victoria and
         South Australia.




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     13. Make more flexible the delivery of training especially in remote locations. In terms of
         making more flexible the training for apprentices and trainees in remote locations the
         mining sector should work with relevant RTOs to identify strategies which will best suit
         the needs of students in these areas. For example, a common strategy used in remote
         locations is to have apprentices and trainees attend extended block releases to complete
         their off-the-job training at regular intervals throughout the year. The industry should also
         investigate the possibility for offering part-time apprenticeships and traineeships in key
         occupational trades. This would also increase the flexibility of provision.

     14. Promote the uptake of school apprenticeships and traineeships as a way for individuals to
         get a head-start in employment.

     15. Continue to work with government to investigate the feasibility of addressing continuing
         skill shortages on current projects by making use of available Department of Immigration
         and Multicultural Affairs (DIMA) visas that allow for the employment of overseas workers
         in areas experiencing skill shortages. This should not be taken as a long-term solution
         however.

Recommendations for individual companies
     1. Develop a commitment to training by taking on responsibility for the employment and
        training of apprentices and trainees

     2. Extend the recruitment pool by targetting existing workers within the company, overseas
        students, indigenous Australians in local communities, and groups that are not represented
        in the mining sector.

     3. Provide apprentices and trainees with supportive work and educational environments,
        attractive work schedules, and recreational equipment and facilities to maintain and retain
        their interest and motivation. This can be done by ensuring that apprentices and trainees
        have access to experienced workers to help them develop occupational skills and expertise,
        supervisors who can also help with their education and training, quiet spaces conducive to
        study, equipment and facilities to help them relax and enjoy their spare time.

     4. Investigate innovative ways for retaining apprentices in their programs until they finish
        their apprenticeships. For example the Xstrata approach is to enable apprentices to
        participate in the company bonus scheme (based on productivity gains, and safety records)
        but to hold the bonus in trust for them until they complete their apprenticeship. This way
        they have access to a large lump sum that they can use to buy a car or other large expense
        item.

     5. Promote apprenticeships and traineeships in secondary schools and local TAFEs by
        attending career information evenings or arranging to provide presentations on the
        benefits of taking up a trade apprenticeship and traineeship with the mining industry.

     6. Provide cultural awareness training for supervisors of apprentices and trainees of different
        cultural backgrounds.

     7. Investigate feasibility of addressing continuing skill shortages by making use of already
        described DIMA visa arrangements for overseas tradespersons in areas of special need.
        This should not be taken as a long-term solution.




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                                                                                Introduction
I. Aims
This study is about addressing the barriers to employment and training in the mining industry by
investigating and exploring issues that affect the training of apprentices and trainees in the
traditional trades. It uses findings to recommend solutions designed to increase the uptake and
completion of apprenticeships. The study will also take account of work already done in
‘Prospecting for Skills: the current and future skill needs in the mining sector’ (NCVER and NILS 2005).

Although this study is about the mining sector in Australia it is also important to note that there
are skills shortages in the traditional trades being experienced in many other industries at home
and overseas.


II. Background
The mining industry is characterised by the location of the majority of operating mine sites away
from major capital cities and metropolitan areas (see figure 1). This geographic dispersal has a
major impact on the willingness of apprentices and trainees and workers in general to enter or
remain in the industry.

Figure 1: Locations of operating mines across states and territories




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Drawing from data from the Department of Employment and Workplace Relations (DEWR) the
NCVER/NILS study (2005) reported on the extent of the supply and demand for all skills
(including in the traditional trades) in the mining sector. It also identified some barriers to
employment and training and provided examples of how different companies had addressed the
issue.

Companies consulted by the NCVER/NILS team identified a shortage in different locations of
tradespersons including:
 mechanical fitters (heavy diesel, mechanical technicians, shovel fitters, drill fitters and
    schedulers)
 electricians (particularly those with high voltage experience), and automotive electricians (heavy
     vehicles)
 boilermakers
 explosive operators
 instrumentation technicians, and
 supervisory personnel with relevant trade experience
Such skill shortages (although not evident in all locations, and more pronounced in remote areas)
were found to have been exacerbated by high turnover among tradespersons, and lack of
industry investment in the training of apprentices and trainees. This turnover was caused in part
by high competition for tradespersons between companies and contractors willing to pay
whatever it costs to attract personnel with expertise and experience. It was also related to the
take-up of higher paying mining occupations (i.e. operators) by tradespersons themselves, and the
implementation of projects requiring higher levels of trade skills. Skill shortages were also due to
the aspirations and lifestyle choices of individuals, and the poor image of the industry as a good
and safe place to work. Retirement, although not as pronounced as labour turnover, has also
contributed to reductions of skilled workers.
According to a study by Access Economics (cited by NCVER/NILS, 2004) about 2% of
turnover is accounted for by workers going into reaching retirement age, while about 10% is due
to labour turnover in general. The study notes that the average projected retirement rates for the
period 2003 to 2010 for key occupational groups in the minerals sector (that is, building and
engineering associate professionals, mechanical engineering tradespersons, fabrication
engineering tradesperson, electrical and electronics tradespersons, miscellaneous tradespersons,
intermediate stationary plant operators, intermediate mining and construction workers and
mining, construction and related labourers) range from 1.5% for miscellaneous tradespersons to
2.4% for intermediate stationary plant operators. In contrast the projected average labour
turnover rate for the same period ranges from 5.1% for mechanical engineering tradespersons to
19.2% for mining, construction and related labourers. For tradespersons the average retirement
rates range from 1.5% to 2%, while average labour turnover rates range from 5.1% to 7.8%.
Labour turnover of tradespersons due to retirement and non-retirement factors will continue to
have an impact on the capacity for mining sector companies to take on apprentices.

It is also important to note that a substantial part of the maintenance of equipment and facilities
in the mining sector is undertaken by contractors that may be large enterprise contractors or
small businesses. Incentives for contractors to take on apprentices in some states are also limited
by the inability of contractors in some states to include the cost of apprentices within quotes for
services. This may also provide a barrier to the employment of apprentices and trainees.
The NCVER/NILS report also suggested a number of strategies that the industry could explore
for attracting and retaining labour in the sector. These included:
 introducing employer incentive schemes which increased remuneration, benefits and conditions
 applying more flexible and safe work practices (including fly-in fly out rosters),


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 enhancing career progression to enable unskilled workers to train for trade positions
 widening the labour pool (to include women, indigenous workers, young people, workers from
     other industries, and international workers)
 up-skilling and multi-skilling existing workers
 improving and accelerating the training of apprentices

Another major report which that highlights the challenges facing the mining sector is the
Resources and Infrastructure Industry Skills Council‘s Industry Skills Report RIISC 2005). It
provides detailed information to support its contention that the key driver of skill needs across
industry are market expansion, health and safety issues, demographic trends, regulatory
compliance and worker attraction issues. It notes that the ‗minerals and commodity markets are
experiencing some of the best pricing and demand levels for over 50 years and the availability of
suitable competent workers is of great concern‘ (p3).

Although we take account of information already provided for the mining industry by the
NCVER/NILS report, and the RIISC report, there is no attempt to replicate that information
(apart from updating the table on presented enrolments in main qualifications under Training
Packages, Resources and Infrastructure, 2001 to 2003, publicly funded training). Rather we come
to conclusions about possible recommendations based on the analysis of findings of the current
research using different data sets and information from different stakeholder groups.
Nevertheless these recommendations add to and support the relevant recommendations made in
the NCVER/NILS and RIISC reports.


III. Objectives
There are eight objectives each with its own specific research questions which will guide the
collection and analysis of data for this report. They comprise the following.
     1. A description of current training systems across all states and territories
             a. What types of training programs, in particular ‗fast track‘ programs, are available
                for which trades, and where are they delivered?
             b. What role, if any, do these programs serve?
             c. What are the advantages and disadvantages of these programs?
     2. Program evaluation for training programs currently available, and for each
        State/Territory
             a. What is the rate of uptake; and is this increasing or decreasing?
             b. What is the rate of training completion
             c. What are the characteristics of students
             d. What are the satisfaction rates of employers and those taking up apprenticeships
                in the mining industry?
     3. Enhancements
             a. What are the existing incentives that are available to employers and apprentices?
             b. Who are the key stakeholders in the system in each State/Territory and
                nationally?
     4. Barriers
             a. Are there Industrial Relations, Award, and/or regulatory barriers?



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             b. What are, if any, the disincentives to participate for both employers and
                employees?
     5. Funding models
             a. What are the funding models currently available for apprenticeships?
     6. Current reforms
             a. What is the status of reforms within the training system, and what are the
                impacts?
     7. Flexible apprenticeships
             a. What are ‗flexible‘ apprenticeships?
             b. What is the ‗take-up‘ rate?
             c. What are the outcomes?


IV. Methodology
This study will focus on apprenticeships and traineeships in the Australian minerals industry. It
will examine approaches being piloted across all states and territories.

Information for this study was collected via:
 reviewing published and unpublished reports, submissions, articles and written materials on
     apprenticeships and traineeships in general and fast-track apprenticeships in particular
 telephone conversations with representatives of
    state training authorities and agencies, and commonwealth government agencies including
       Department of Employment and Workplace Relations (DEWR)
   employee associations (unions)
   employer associations
   training providers delivering fast-track apprenticeships
   trainers in enterprise RTOs
A list of agencies and representatives appears in appendix A.


V. Organisation of the report
Each of the objectives already outlined will be addressed in separate chapters of the report and
wherever possible data and information will be considered on both a national and state basis.




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              Australian apprenticeships and
                                 traineeships
In this section we provide a brief overview of the current apprenticeship and traineeship system
in Australia, and some key data on participation and completion (including early completions)of
apprenticeships and traineeships. We also give a breakdown of participation in different training
programs.


I. Similar but ‗separate‘ systems
Similar but separate arrangements for the training of apprentices and trainees exist across
Australian states and territories. In the main these arrangements combine practical work with
structured learning to enable trade apprentices and trainees to gain nationally recognised
qualifications and the experience required to enter trade-specific or other industry occupations.

Contracts of training
Apprenticeships and traineeships require individuals to be employed under a contract of training.
The nominal duration of training contracts ranges from 12 months to four years (or five years for
a very small number of trades) with traineeships being of shorter duration than apprenticeships.
In some states there are arrangements in place for part-time apprenticeships. Traditionally
apprenticeships have been of four-years duration. In an effort to address current skills shortages
in many of the traditional trades (including automotive, construction, engineering and hospitality)
various industries in different jurisdictions are trialling the possibility of modifying arrangements
or reducing these nominal durations. There are those which are keeping in place the traditional
nominal duration of apprenticeships and using the competency-based philosophy to accelerate
the signing off of training contracts. There are those which are keeping in place the nominal
durations but intensifying the up-front training, and the number of qualifications that can be
gained during these time periods. There are those which are trialling the reduction of nominal
durations through the use of pre-vocational training, and applying RPL assessments and gap
training for the mature aged with industry-specific experience and knowledge. In Western
Australia the Metals Industry Working Group (2005) has developed a strategy (which has been
endorsed by industry and is currently awaiting final government approval) to alter expected
durations of apprenticeships for engineering tradespersons (fabrication, mechanical, aircraft
maintenance technician, ship-wrighting and boat building from a tem of 4 years to 3.5 years. The
working group will also be concentrating on efforts to alter and reduce expected durations for
electrical, jewellery, toolmaking and jig-making (metal furniture) and watch and clock repairing
trades.

Training contracts must be accompanied by Training Plans established by employers and
apprentices in conjunction with their selected RTO. These training plans will be based on the
competency standards that must be acquired to complete the qualification and the contract.
Commencements in apprenticeship and traineeships have been increasing steadily over the last 10
years or so (See Figure 2).




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Figure 2: Commencements in the 12 months ending December 1996-2004



                                    Apprentice and trainee commencements
              250,000
              200,000
     Number




              150,000
              100,000
               50,000
                   0
                        1996     1997        1998        1999        2000         2001        2002        2003

                        Traditional apprentices               Year           Other apprentices and trainees

Source: NCVER Apprentice and Trainee Statistics, collection 39
Based on March 2004 quarter estimates


User Choice
In 1996 MINCO (Ministerial Council for Vocational Education and Training) endorsed the
implementation of the User Choice arrangements. Under this program employers and
apprentices are able to choose the RTOs which will deliver their training. They are also able to
choose the selection, content, sequencing and assessment of training and the timing, location and
method of delivery. User Choice funds are provided by the Commonwealth and administered by
States and Territories. These funds provide financial incentives for employers and RTOs that
engage in the training of apprentices and trainees. These incentives are aimed at increasing
employer involvement in the employment and qualifying of apprentices and trainees, and
opening up the training market so that other RTOs (in addition to the TAFE provider) can
provide employers and apprentices with choice of training provider. However, the bulk of
training continues to be accessed through the public provider.

There are two models of training that apply to the use of User Choice funds. These are off-the-
job and on-the-job training models. If the off-the-job model is chosen, the training is provided
directly by the RTO in off-site or on-site facilities. Where the on-the-job model is used the
training is provided by the employer, with the RTO supervising the training by appointing a
mentor to visit and validate the achievement of competencies. Employers, apprentices and
trainees and RTOs must choose which of the two models will be used. Under both models
RTOs award the qualification.

Each State and Territory has its own provisions for the application of User Choice Funds (see
Appendix B). These apply to the off-the-job and on-the-job training model for different
qualification levels, and workers. Different jurisdictions have implemented different funding
regimes for the training of existing workers. In the main, the use of User Choice funds for the
training of existing workers (of three months or more) in programs other than the Certificate III
apprenticeship programs has been gradually restricted in all states and territories.

New Apprenticeship Centres
Apprenticeships and traineeships are brokered by New Apprenticeship Centres (NACS) which
are supported by the Commonwealth Government. The New Apprenticeships Support Services
Contract provides funding throughout Australia. In the Northern Territory the Commonwealth


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Government has a joint contract with the Northern Territory Government for the delivery of
New Apprenticeship Support Services. New Apprenticeship Centres are charged with providing
information, advice and support to employers apprentices and trainees about these programs.

In 2006 the Commonwealth Government reported that although 93% of apprentices and
trainees were satisfied with the services received from their NAC, there was a need to strengthen
some core activities. These included marketing and promotion of apprenticeship and traineeships
to employers, apprentices and trainees and other interested persons. It also included providing
accurate, current and accurate information, ongoing support to employers and apprentices and
trainees to encourage successful completion, and administering the financial incentives to
employers and apprentices and trainees. There were also suggestions for NACS to establish
effective relationships and linkages between key players (for example, all schools, Youth
Pathways Programme Providers, Local Community Partnerships, Regional Industry Careers
Advisers, Industry Career Specialists, Group Training Organisations, RTOs and other
organisations) to encourage commencement and completion of training contracts. Furthermore
NACS are encouraged to become Job Placement Centres contracted through the Department of
Employment and Workplace Relations to target young people who have left school, out-of-trade
apprentices and other relevant job seekers. Where NACs do not contract to become Job
Placement Centres they are encouraged to establish linkages with Job Placement Licensed only
organisations to help place apprentices and trainees. Linkages were also to be established with the
new Australian Technical Colleges, the first of which would commence in 2006 [Department of
Education Science and Training (DEST) 2005].

Training Packages
The competency standards that are selected by the employer in conjunction with the apprentice
and the RTO are taken from Training Packages that have been developed by industry. These
Training Packages identify the industry competency standards for a particular industry sector, the
qualifications, and the assessment guidelines. In some cases they may also provide information
that can be used for training delivery. There were over 368 900 apprentices and trainees enrolled
in Training Package qualification by March 2005. This represented 94.5% of all apprentices and
trainees. The largest number was accounted for by New South Wales (115 600) followed by
Victoria (102.500).

In the March quarter 2005 the greatest proportion of apprentice and trainee commencements
across the nation were enrolled in the Business (BSB) Training Package qualifications, followed
by the Retail (WRR) Training Package. They accounted for 22.8% of all apprentice and trainee
commencements. Automotive Industry Retail, Service and Repair (AUR), Metal and Engineering
(MEM), and Hospitality (THH) together accounted another 22% of commencements, while
General Construction (BCG), Community Services (CHC), Electrotechnology (UTE) accounted
for 17.1%. A breakdown of commencements in the top 20 Training Packages are provided in
Table 1. A breakdown of these percentages are provided in Table 1.




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Table 1: Percentage of apprenticeship and trainee commencements in top 20 Training Packages, March Quarter 2005 by state and
territory

                                                   NSW            Vic         Qld          SA          WA          Tas          NT          ACT     Australia

Business (BSB )                                    10.5           7.1         17.0         21.8        7.6         14.4         18.1        10.7    11.8
Retail (WRR)                                       7.9            16.2        8.9          14.0        6.5         10.8         9.4         6.9     11.0
Automotive Industry Retail, Service and Repair
(AUR)                                              9.0            6.4         6.3          6.9         11.7        6.9          9.8         6.4     7.6
Metal and Engineering Industry (MEM)               6.0            5.4         9.5          5.7         16.3        6.7          4.4         1.0     7.1
Hospitality (THH)                                  6.1            9.0         7.1          4.9         5.5         8.6          7.1         5.8     7.1
Transport and Distribution (TDT)                   7.3            6.9         4.2          6.3         5.0         4.0          0.9         6.5     6.1
General Construction (BCG)                         6.5            5.7         6.9          4.5         4.1         4.1          2.4         11.5    6.0
Community Services (CHC)                           5.6            5.8         3.5          2.8         4.6         4.5          4.3         10.0    5.0
Electrotechnology (UTE)                            5.9            3.8         4.7          5.1         5.3         4.0          7.3         5.0     4.9
Australian Meat Industry (MTM)                     2.6            1.9         5.8          7.3         3.3         1.1          0.2         0.5     3.4
Telecommunications (ICT)                           3.2            3.0         1.3          0.5         2.9         4.2          1.3         4.2     2.5
Hairdressing (WRH)                                 2.5            1.7         2.7          2.0         3.0         2.5          1.7         3.7     2.3
Asset Maintenance (PRM)                            2.2            1.4         2.6          2.0         1.8         1.9          2.6         1.9     2.0
Amenity Horticulture (RTF)                         2.1            2.3         2.0          1.0         1.7         1.4          1.1         1.8     2.0
Plastics, Rubber and Cablemaking (PMB)             2.1            4.0         0.2          0.5         0.2         0.4          0.0         0.0     1.9
Health (HLT)                                       2.7            2.4         0.5          1.0         1.5         1.8          1.0         1.0     1.9
Food Processing Industry (FDF)                     1.7            2.1         0.8          2.5         3.0         1.8          0.6         0.7     1.8
Rural Production (RTE)                             1.6            1.3         1.0          1.6         2.1         1.4          1.3         0.0     1.4
Furnishing Industry (LMF)                          1.2            1.2         1.7          0.0         3.2         1.5          1.0         1.3     1.4
Financial Services (FNS)                           1.0            1.0         1.0          1.5         1.4         1.3          0.3         0.6     1.1
Other Training Packages                            12.2           11.1        12.3         8.2         9.5         16.6         25.1        20.6    11.8
Training Packages sub-total                        100.0          100.0       100.0        100.0       100.0       100.0        100.0       100.0   100.0
Top 20 Training Packages sub-total ('000)          22.0           20.9        14.6         6.5         5.2         2.0          0.7         1.3     73.1
All Training Packages ('000)                       25.0           23.5        16.6         7.1         5.7         2.4          0.9         1.6     82.9
Not in Training Packages ('000)                    0.9            1.0         0.2          0.3         0.4         0.1          0.0         0.0     3.0
Total Number ('000)                                25.9           24.5        16.8         7.4         6.2         2.5          0.9         1.6     85.9
Training Packages as proportion of total (%)   96.5           95.8            99.1         96.2        92.7        95.4         99.5        99.5    96.6
                   Source: NCVER Apprentice and Trainee Statistics


                      Quality assurance
                      The quality of training received is assured under the Australian Quality Training Framework
                      which sets out the standards for Registered Training Organisations, and Registering and
                      Accrediting bodies (RCABS). A system of internal and external audit helps to monitor the quality
                      of training and suggest opportunities for improvement. Of importance to this project is the need
                      for trainers to be expert in their particular fields and for RPL to be made available where
                      knowledge and competency has already been acquired. A review of the AQTF was published in
                      2005.

                      Fees and charges
                       In general RTOs will charge apprentices and trainees a tuition fee (known as an administration
                      fee in New South Wales). This may differ across jurisdictions with variations being observed
                      between and within colleges and course areas. (However, in the Northern Territory there are no
                      tuition fees for students undertaking a Certificate I or Certificate II courses.) A charge may also
                      be made for personal items such as tools of the trade, student services and amenities and take-


                      23                    Addressing barriers to the employment and training of traditional trades apprentices and trainees
                                                                                                                      in the minerals industry
home goods. For example, in Victoria the fee is generally payable by the student but some
industrial awards (metals and automotive) provide for fees to be paid or refunded on successful
completion by the employer.


II. Early sign-off
Opportunities for fast-tracking the completion of the knowledge components of apprenticeship
and traineeship programs has been available since the introduction of competency-based training
and associated flexible delivery methods in the early 1990s. However, opportunities for the early
sign off of trade papers could only happen when all the off-the-job training was completed and
the employer was prepared to say that the apprentice had achieved tradesperson status. In the
great majority of jurisdictions there are provisions for apprentices to be signed off early, however
conditions for the early sign off might vary. In the Northern Territory there are no nominal
durations attached to a contract of training and signing off is completely based on competency
achieved. Conditions for each state and territory based on information provided in publications
or from websites by state training authorities, are presented in table 2.

Table 2: Early sign off conditions across states and territories

State and Territory      Conditions for early completion of training contracts

New South Wales          Requests for early or competency based completion by employers will be approved when
                         these are supported by evidence of completion of the required AQF qualification and the
                         employer considers the apprentice to be competent in the skills of the vocation at the
                         appropriate level. The early sign-off of training contracts is managed at the local office
                         level, with field officers being given delegations to sign off up to 12 months earlier than the
                         nominal term of training. In all cases the employer must agree that the apprentice has
                         achieved the required competencies.



Victoria                 Applications for early completions of contracts of training for traditional apprenticeships are
                         submitted to the State Training Authority. These are approved automatically when there is
                         evidence of the completion of off-the-job training to the competency levels required,75% of
                         the time has been served, and the employer agrees that the apprentice has achieved all the
                         workplace competencies to the standard and level required. When applications for early
                         completions at less than the 75% completion then a field officer from the State Training
                         Authority will investigate the case by visiting and speaking with employer and trainee to
                         come to a decision. All early completions of traineeships are processed automatically once
                         there is evidence of the completion of off-the-job training to the competency levels required
                         and the employer agrees that the apprentice has achieved all the workplace competencies
                         to the standard and level required.
Queensland               Employers and apprentices must sign a written statement saying that they have completed
                         the workplace training. This statement is provided to the supervising RTO who must
                         indicate that they are satisfied that the apprentice is entitled to a qualification. The
                         supervising RTO must ensure that the employer, apprentice and the training organisation
                         sign a completion agreement. It is not necessary to apply for a reduction of term if the
                         contract will be completed before the nominal duration. If the apprentice achieves all the
                         competencies prescribed in the training plan and the employer and supervising organisation
                         agree that this has occurred the apprentice can be signed off early.
Western Australia        Provided the apprentice has successfully completed all off-the-job training required for the
                         Certificate III qualification and all parties (employer, apprentice and RTO) agree to reduce
                         the term of the apprenticeship an application for early completion is submitted to the
                         Apprenticeship and Traineeship Support Network (ATSN) for consideration. The ATSN will
                         then get in touch with the RTO to check that all off-the-job training has been successfully
                         completed to industry standards and level, and the employer to check that all workplace
                         competencies have been acquired to industry standards and level. Once this agreement
                         has been acquired then the ATSN will sign off the early completion. (Electrical apprentices
                         are also required to successfully complete take a Capstone Test once ATSN approval for
                         consideration of early completion has been granted. Once this test has been undertaken
                         then the application for early completion can be finalised.) If the request is for less than 12
                         months to be taken off the nominal term then the ATSN officers have delegation to approve
                         the early completion. For a 4 year indentured apprentice, if the reduction of term application
                         is for more than 12 months then the apprentice must have an independent evaluation.
South Australia          Once apprentices and trainees have completed the qualification (certificate awarded by the



24                    Addressing barriers to the employment and training of traditional trades apprentices and trainees
                                                                                                in the minerals industry
                        RTO), and their employer declares they have achieved the required vocational
                        competencies to the required standards, they apply to the Traineeship and Management
                        Unit in Traineeship and apprentices Services for an early sign off of the contract of training.
                        This applies where 75% of the contract has been served. In exceptional circumstances the
                        parties may apply for early completion before 75% of the contract term has been served.
                        Each exceptional circumstances request is considered on an individual basis.
Tasmania                Early completion of contracts is available once a training consultant provides a
                        recommendation supporting the application for early completion to the Tasmanian Training
                        Agreement Committee. This is based on evidence of successful completion of the
                        prescribed course and or training program, and employer support.
Australian Capital      Early completion of apprenticeships and traineeships must be agreed to by employer, RTO
Territory               and apprentice. This agreement is based on the successful completion of off and on-the-job
                        training requirements to the standard and level required.
Northern Territory      Specified nominal durations of contracts of training no longer apply in the Northern
                        Territory. Here all completions are based on the achievement of competencies. RTOs sign
                        off the completion of Training Package competencies which incorporates the employer
                        sign-off on the workplace components of the contract of training.

There is provision and take-up within systems to allow for early sign off of contracts of training.
For example, an indication of the prevalence of early sign off for all individuals who started an
apprenticeship or traineeship in the automotive, building and construction, telecommunications,
engineering, transport and distribution and electro technology training packages between 1st
January 2001 and 30th December 2001in South Australia has been provided in table 3. This
shows that largest proportion of early sign off completions (representing well over a third of all
apprenticeship completions) was reported for the building and construction. About a third of all
apprenticeship completions in engineering were early sign off completions. The lowest
proportion of early sign off completions for apprentices was represented by the electro-
technology training package. However, just under half of traineeship completions for
telecommunications were early sign off completions, and about a quarter of all traineeship
completions were early sign off completions for the automotive, retail, service and repair training
package. Smaller proportions of completions were early sign off completions for traineeships in
the engineering and electro-technology training package.




25                   Addressing barriers to the employment and training of traditional trades apprentices and trainees
                                                                                               in the minerals industry
Table 3: Early sign off completions as a proportion of all completions for selected training packages

                   Apprentices                                         Trainees

 Training          No. of early       No. of all      Proportion       Number of       All              Proportion
 Packages          sign off           completions     of early         early sign      completions      of early
                   completions                        sign off         off                              sign off
                                                      completions      completions                      completions

 Building and      75                 178             42.14%           n/a             n/a              n/a
 Construction
 (BCG30198 TO
 BCG30798)

 Engineeering      80                 244             32.79%           9               82               10.98%
 (MEM20198 TO
 MEM30498)


 Automotive        68                 296             22.97%           27              108              25%
 Retail, Service
 and Repair
 (AUR201PP TO
 AUR32499)
 Electro-          37                 184             20.10%           1               16               6.25%
 technology
 (UTE20599 TO
 UTE31199)

 Telecommunicati   n/a                n/a             n/a              180             374              48.13%
 ons (ICT30599
 TO ICT40599)


 Transport and     n/a                n/a             n/a              104             809              12.85%
 Distribution
 (TDT20197 TO
 TDT30297)




III. Overseas skilled workers
It is also possible for those companies in regional locations experiencing difficulties in attracting
apprentices and trainees in specific skill shortage trades areas to opt to employ as an apprentice
or trainee an individual from overseas (living on or off-shore), by sponsoring an individual for
such a program. The Department of Immigration and Multi-cultural and Indigenous Affairs
(DIMIA) now the Department of Immigration and Multi-cultural Affairs (DIMA) has
implemented the Trade Skills Training Visa for this purpose. This visa can allow the individual
who completes his or her apprenticeship (Certificate III or IV) to apply for regional skilled
migration visas (DIMIA 2006). DIMIA also has in place an Occupational Trainee Visa. This visa
is for two years if the program cannot be completed in two years then an extension is possible
for the trainee and his or her family.

Sub-class 457 business long stay visa
Many Australian companies (especially those in the mining industry) experiencing skill shortages
in the traditional trade areas have also sponsored and employed overseas qualified tradespersons
on temporary sub-class 457 business (long stay) visas which entitles them to stay and work in


26                 Addressing barriers to the employment and training of traditional trades apprentices and trainees
                                                                                             in the minerals industry
Australia for four years. These may be converted to permanent residency visas after two years if
holder meet requirements. It is at this point that the qualifications of these tradespersons are
assessed by Trade Recognition Australia. In the mean time these overseas workers may work in
their trades without completing any formal recognition processes. Electricians, however, are
required to satisfy state licensing requirements before beginning their work.

For the period 1 July 2004 to 30 June 2005 there were 49 855 visas granted for the sub-class 457
business (long stay) visa. The top ten originating countries were United Kingdom accounting for
the largest proportion of visa holders (26%) followed by India (10%), United States of America
and South Africa (both 6%), Japan, China and Ireland (all 4%), Canada and Germany (both 3%)
and Philippines (2%). The remainder were from a combination of different countries. An
additional 28 208 visas were granted between July 2005 and November 2005.

Intended residence of workers
It is difficult to know where these 457 visa holders are working or are going to work. However, it
is possible to get an indication of where they are going to work from their incoming passenger
card if they have completed this part of the form. Data on the ‗intended residence‘ of 36, 820
current visa holders in December 2005 (provided on their incoming passenger card) indicates
that more that almost half (46.7%) of these visa holders intended to reside in New South Wales,
about a fifth (21%) in Victoria, and just under a tenth (9.2%) in Western Australia. Where 2.7%
were intending to reside in South Australia about half this number were intending to reside in
the Australian Capital Territory (1.3%) and the Northern Territory (1.0%) and half this
proportion again (.5%) again were intending to live in Tasmania. The remainder had not
provided details of intended state of residence on their passenger cards.

ACTU perspectives on overseas skilled workers
In its submission to the COAG Working Party on ‗Addressing skill shortages through a national
approach to apprenticeships, training and skills recognition‘ (ACTU 2005) the ACTU indicated
that it supported the appropriate recognition of overseas qualifications through the system that is
already in place for assessing such qualifications (that is, Training Recognition Australia).
However, it also noted that ‗an increase in skilled migrants cannot be seen as a solution to
Australia‘s skills needs‘, and that any increase in the numbers of skilled migrants coming in to
address skills shortages, ‗must be done in the context of ongoing and improved investment in
training by employers in Australia‘s workers‘ (ibid p7).

Nevertheless the ACTU was prepared to consider the employment of skilled migrant labour
where there was a ‗genuine shortage‘. Skilled migrants were to also be afforded the ‗terms and
conditions of employment that apply under the relevant award and agreement applying at the site
or enterprise‘ (ibid p8).


IV. Summary
There are eight major elements that have been identified in this discussion of the Australian
Apprenticeship are: Traineeship system. They comprise:

     1. VET systems which have similar but separate arrangements across states and territories

     2. Contracts of training signed by employers and apprentices and trainees (or guardians)
        which have specific nominal term durations in all jurisdictions bar the Northern Territory




27                   Addressing barriers to the employment and training of traditional trades apprentices and trainees
                                                                                               in the minerals industry
     3. Employers and apprentices and trainees may select the registered training organisation
        they wish to deliver training and qualifications

     4. User Choice funding from the Commonwealth Government which allows this selection to
        happen is administered by states and territories in different ways

     5. Training Packages which identify competency standards and qualifications are developed
        by industry

     6. Quality assurance of training is arranged under the Australian Quality Training Framework

     7. Apprentices and trainees pay fees for the provision and or administration of off-the-job
        training

     8. All States and Territories have early sign-off arrangements for apprentices and trainees
        who meet the competencies to the required standard

     9. The Trade Training visas has been established to enable employers (in skill shortage areas)
        to hire apprentices and trainees from overseas.




28                   Addressing barriers to the employment and training of traditional trades apprentices and trainees
                                                                                               in the minerals industry
                                               Training participation
In this chapter we provide information on apprenticeship training rates in terms of
commencements, completions and in-training rates for the mining industry, and for different
training packages that have relevance for the mining industry. A breakdown of student
characteristics in terms of age groups, gender and existing worker status is also provided.


I. Training activity
Between 1999 and 2004 training participation continued to rise and peaked in 2004. This rise in
training participation was in keeping with rising commencements which peaked in 2001, fell
slightly in 2002 and rose again in 2004. In contrast completions flattened slightly between 1999
and 2001 when they began to rise and to flatten again. They remained above 2001 figures in
2004. A representation of this activity is presented in Figure 3.

Figure 3: Apprenticeship training rates (commencements, completions and in-training) in Mining
industry, 12 months to December, 1999 to 2004


     2,500


     2,000


     1,500


     1,000


      500


        0
                1999            2000            2001           2002            2003           2004


                                  Commencements          Completions       In-training


Source: NCVER Apprenticeship and Traineeship collection, September 2005 estimates




Commencements in the mining industry
In 2004 there were a total of 1345 commencements in apprenticeships and traineeships in the
mining industry (see table 4). The training packages which together accounted for two-thirds of
all commencements were metalliferous mining, followed by metal and engineering, transport and
distribution, and extractive industry. About 7% of commencements were in the automotive
industry retail, service and repair industry while just 2.5% were in the civil and general
construction industries combined.




29                     Addressing barriers to the employment and training of traditional trades apprentices and trainees
                                                                                                 in the minerals industry
Table 4: Apprentice and Trainee Commencements 12 months December 2004 for Mining Industry
(ANZSIC = B), by Training Package

 Training package                                                                   2004
                                                                     No.               %
 MNM - Metalliferous Mining                                          307                22.8%
 MEM - Metal and Engineering Industry                                242                18.0%
 TDT - Transport and Distribution                                    180                13.4%
 MNQ - Extractive Industry                                           155                11.5%
 BSB - Business Services                                             136                10.1%
 AUR - Automotive Industry Retail, Service and Repair                90                 6.7%
 PMA - Chemical, Hydrocarbons and Oil Refining                       43                 3.2%
 MNC - Black Coal                                                    41                 3.0%
 UTE – Electro-technology Industry                                   39                 2.9%
 BCC - Civil Construction                                            23                 1.7%
 DRT - Drilling Industry                                             17                 1.3%
 BCG - General Construction                                          16                 1.2%
 PMC - Manufactured Mineral Products                                 14                 1.0%
 Other training package (where occurrence is < 1%)                   41                 3.0%
 Total                                                              1,345               100.0%
Source: NCVER Apprenticeship and Traineeship collection, September 2005 estimates

If we take apprentice and trainee commencements for selected training packages (MNQ, MNM,
MNC, DRT, BCC) and look at where these are mostly employed we find that just over a quarter
are employed in each of construction, government administration and defence and mining
industries (see table 5).

Table 5: Apprentice and Trainee Commencements 12 months December 2004 for Selected Training
Packages (MNQ, MNM, MNC, DRT, BCC), by Industry
 Industry of employment (ANZSIC)                                                    2004
                                                                     No.               %
 Construction                                                        582                27.3%
 Government Administration and Defence                               579                27.1%
 Mining                                                              543                25.4%
 Property and Business Services                                      135                6.3%
 Transport and Storage                                               79                 3.7%
 Manufacturing                                                       66                 3.1%
 Other                                                               221                10.4%
 Personal and Other Services                                         41                 1.9%
 Education                                                           40                 1.9%
 Other industry (where occurrence is < 1%)                           70                 3.3%
 Total                                                              2,135               100.0%
Source: NCVER Apprenticeship and Traineeship collection, September 2005 estimates

The Industry Skills report of the Resources and Information Skills Council (RIISC 2004)
reported on apprenticeship and traineeship commencements for selected training packages. We
find that commencements have doubled from these 2003 figures for total qualifications in the
Extractive Industry Training Package (MNQ), and declined slightly for Metalliferous Mining
(MNM), Black Coal (MNC), Drilling (DRT) Civil Construction (BCC) Training Packages (see
table 6).




30                    Addressing barriers to the employment and training of traditional trades apprentices and trainees
                                                                                                in the minerals industry
Table 6: Apprentice and Trainee Commencements, 12 months December for Selected Training
Packages (MNQ, MNM, MNC, DRT, BCC), 2001-2004

                                                                                Commencements
 Training Package                                        2001             2002             2003          2004
 Extractive Industry (MNQ)                               205              147              124           248
 MNQ30198 - Certificate III in Extractive
 Industries (Operator)                                   199              121              87            134
 MNQ30103 - Certificate III in Extractive
 Industries Operations                                   *                *                *             92
 MNQ40103 - Certificate IV in Extractive
 Industries Operations                                   *                *                *             14
 MNQ40198 - Certificate IV in Extractive
 Industries Operations                                   *                13               15            *
 MNQ20198 - Certificate II in Extractive
 Industries (Operator)                                   *                                 17            *
 Metalliferous Mining (MNM)                              648              215              369           327
 MNM20103 - Certificate II in Metalliferous
 Mining Operations (Open Cut) (including
 MNM20199 - Superseded by MNM20103)                      18               68               126           112
 MNM20303 - Certificate II in Metalliferous
 Mining Operations (Processing) (including
 MNM20399 - Superseded by MNM20303)                      18               31               36            14
 MNM30303 - Certificate III in Metalliferous
 Mining Operations (Processing) (including
 MNM30399 - Superseded by MNM30303)                      164              25               69            83
 MNM30103 - Certificate III in Metalliferous
 Mining Operations (Open Cut) (including
 MNM30199 - Superseded by MNM30103)                      216              66               81            58
 MNM30299 - Certificate III in Metalliferous
 Mining Operations (Underground) (Superseded
 by MNM30203)                                            219              10               50            54
 Black Coal (MNC)                                        199              47               72            56
 MNC20198 - Certificate II in Coal Operations            66               39               26            50
 MNC30198 - Certificate III in Coal Operations           133              *                43            *
 Drilling Industry (DRT)                                 37               72               33            34
 DRT20498 - Certificate II in Drilling (Mineral
 Exploration)                                            *                *                11            *
 DRT30498 - Certificate III in Drilling (Mineral
 Exploration)                                            26               67               12            19
 Civil Construction (BCC)                                2,635            2,868            1,586         1,470
 BCC30603 - Certificate III in Civil Construction
 (Plant Operations) (including BCC30198 -
 Superseded by BCC 30603)                                1,575            1,663            786           623
 BCC30703 - Certificate III in Civil Construction
 (Road Construction and Maintenance)
 (including BCC30298 - Superseded by BCC
 30703)                                                  862              872              454           530
 BCC30103 - Certificate III in Civil Construction
 (including BCC20198 - Superseded by
 BCC30103)                                               101              152              166           192
 BCC30503 - Certificate III in Civil Construction
 (Pipe Laying) (including BCC30798 -
 Superseded by BCC30503)                                 72               118              79            33
 BCC30303 - Certificate III in Civil Construction
 (Bridge Construction and Maintenance)
 (including BCC30498 - Superseded by
 BCC30303)                                               20               33               62            48
 Total                                                  3724             3349              2184          2135
Note: This data may differ from previous estimates due to retrospective alterations to historical data
           * Between 1 and 9 – not published for confidentiality reasons
Source: NCVER Apprenticeship and Traineeship collection, September 2005 estimates




31                      Addressing barriers to the employment and training of traditional trades apprentices and trainees
                                                                                                  in the minerals industry
II. Age of apprentices and trainees
In figure 4 we look at apprenticeship and traineeship commencements in the mining industry by
selected training packages and note the variability of age group concentration across different
sub-sectors of the mining industry. This indicates that the Electro-technology (UTE) training
package (catering for the electrical and electronic trades) and the Metal and Engineering (MEM)
training package (catering for all engineering trades) are dominated by young people. There is an
opportunity for these two areas to target older age groups as has been done in building and
construction, transport and distribution and drilling.

Figure 4:  Apprenticeship and traineeship commencements in Mining industry by selected training
packages, 12 months to December 2004, by Age



     100%


     80%

     60%                                                                                              45 and over
                                                                                                      25-44
     40%                                                                                              20-24
                                                                                                      19 and under
     20%


      0%
                           EM




                                                            A


                                                                   M
                g




                                             B




                                                                            Q
                                      C




                                                                                   T


                                                                                            T
                    TE




                                                    C
             in




                                                                                 TD


                                                                                         R
                                                         PM
                                          BS
                                   N




                                                  BC




                                                                          N
                                                                  N
                    U
         in




                                                                                        D
                                  M
                          M




                                                                        M
                                                                 M
        ml
      Al




                                              Training package


Source: NCVER Apprenticeship and Traineeship collection, September 2005 estimates




III. Gender of apprentices and trainees
Figure 4 indicates that there were nil (or near zero) female commencements for 2004 in those
training packages that provide qualifications for traditional trades in the mining industry:
MNQ - Extractive Industry
MEM - Metal and Engineering Industry
UTE – Electro-technology Industry
BCC - Civil Construction
DRT - Drilling Industry
Considering low uptake of apprenticeships and traineeships by females in these areas, the
industry might consider promoting these pathways to young or older women.




32                       Addressing barriers to the employment and training of traditional trades apprentices and trainees
                                                                                                   in the minerals industry
Figure 5:  Apprenticeship commencements in Mining industry by selected training packages,
12 months to December 2004, by Gender


     100%
     90%
     80%
     70%
     60%                                                                                            Female
     50%                                                                                            Male
     40%
     30%
     20%
     10%
      0%
               All         Mining             BSB         PMA      MNM        MNC       TDT
            appren-       industry                        Selected training packages
             tices

Source: NCVER Apprenticeship and Traineeship collection, September 2005 estimates




IV. Nominal durations of training contracts
Traditional apprenticeships are classified under the occupation of tradespersons and related
workers, enrolled in certificate III and above, and are in training contracts of more than two
years identified. The majority of commencements in Metal and Engineering (MEM), Electro-
technology (UTE) or Civil Construction (BCC) training packages were engaged in traditional
apprenticeships. On average, 23.7% of all apprenticeship and traineeship commencements
within the mining industry were enrolled in traditional apprenticeships, this proportion was
considerably higher in some training packages, such as in Metal and Engineering (MEM) at
80.2%, and the Electro-technology (UTE) training package at 82.1%.

In contrast, commencers in Transport and Distribution (TDT), Business Services (BSB) and
Black Coal (MNC) training packages were almost exclusively enrolled in shorter-term programs,
generally identified as traineeships.
Figure 6:  Apprenticeship and traineeship commencements in Mining industry by selected training
packages, 12 months to December 2004, by training
duration

     100%


     80%


     60%


     40%


     20%


      0%
                All          BCC        UTE         MEM        MNM         MNQ         PMA          DRT
            apprentices
                                           Selected training packages

                                     Two years or less    More than two years




33                    Addressing barriers to the employment and training of traditional trades apprentices and trainees
                                                                                                in the minerals industry
Source: NCVER Apprenticeship and Traineeship collection, September 2005 estimates


V. Employer size
In the 12 months to December 2004 almost two-thirds of commencing apprentices and trainees
in the mining industry were employed by large organisations of 100 or more employers (see
figure 7). Just over a quarter were employed by medium-sized organisations employing between
10 and 99 employees.

Figure 7:  Apprentice and Trainee Commencements in Mining industry, 12 months to December
2004, by Employer Size




                           12%



                                               Less than 10


                                     27%       10-99 employees

  61%                                          100 and over employees




Source: NCVER Apprenticeship and Traineeship collection, September 2005 estimates




In addition, apprentices and trainees in the mining industry are generally employed in the private
sector, with a negligible number employed in the public sector, or through group training
organisations.


V. Existing workers
In the past 12 months just over 40% of apprentices and trainees commencing a contract of
training in the mining industry were existing workers (see figure 8). They were most likely to be
undertaking qualifications in transport and distribution, and extractive industry training packages.
Almost two-thirds of commencers in the Business Services training package were existing
workers. However, compared to new entrants, there was low uptake by existing workers of metal
and engineering, drilling and electro-technology training package qualifications. Keeping this in
mind there are opportunities to increase participation of existing workers in apprenticeships and
traineeships.




34                    Addressing barriers to the employment and training of traditional trades apprentices and trainees
                                                                                                in the minerals industry
Figure 8:  Apprenticeship and traineeship commencements in Mining industry by selected training
packages, 12 months to December 2004, by Existing Worker status


     100%


      80%


      60%


      40%


      20%


       0%
              Mining      TDT       MNQ        BSB        MNM       PMA          MEM      DRT       UTE
             industry                       Selected training packages

                                        Existing worker    Not existing worker

Source: NCVER Apprenticeship and Traineeship collection, September 2005 estimates




VI. Summary
Training activity within apprenticeships and traineeships has the following major characteristics:

     1. Commencements in traditional trades have increased since 1996

     2. Apprenticeships in the engineering and electrical trades in the mining industry are mostly
        dominated by young people. Construction, transport and distribution and drilling and
        dominated by older age groups

     3. Almost all apprenticeships in traditional trades in the mining industry are male, especially
        Extractive Industry, Metals and Engineering, Electro-technology, Civil Construction, and
        Drilling

     4. Just over four-fifths of Metals and Engineering, and Electrical training contracts are for
        traditional trades. Training Contracts in Transport and Distribution, Business Services and
        Black Coal areas are mostly traineeships

     5. Almost two-thirds of apprentices and trainees work for large companies of over 100
        employees

     6. 40% of training contract commencements in mining industry were for existing workers




35                      Addressing barriers to the employment and training of traditional trades apprentices and trainees
                                                                                                  in the minerals industry
                                      Employer and employee
                                      satisfaction with training
In this chapter we report on employer and apprentice and trainee satisfaction with training.
These findings are based on the preliminary findings of NCVER‘s Survey of Employer Use and
Views (2005) and the recently published Student Outcomes Survey (2005). We report this data in
terms of occupational groupings (ASCO Level 1) and industry groupings (ANZSIC). We also
report these data in terms of employees who have graduated from an apprenticeship and
traineeship program.


I. Employer satisfaction with meeting skill needs
Preliminary information from the 2005 NCVER Survey of Employer Use and Views (SEUV)
indicates that the overwhelming majority (80%) of employers in all industries are satisfied with
the way apprentices are helping them to meet their skill needs (see table 7). Just over a tenth of
employers are dissatisfied. The most satisfied are employers in the property and business services
area, followed closely by those in electricity, gas and water supply, mining, and government
administration and defence. Those reporting lower levels of satisfaction are those in the finance
and insurance industry, followed by employers in the personal and other services industry. The
most dissatisfied group were employers in the personal and other services areas, followed by
construction, accommodation, cafes and restaurants and manufacturing.

Table 7: Employer satisfaction with apprentices and trainees in meeting their skill needs by industry

 Industry                                               Satisfied      Dissatisfied      Neither       Total
                                                        Row %          Row %             Row %         Row %
 Agriculture, Forestry And Fishing                      82             *                 18            100
 Mining                                                 92             *                 *             100
 Manufacturing                                          87             10                2             100
 Electricity, Gas And Water Supply                      93             *                 4             100
 Construction                                           77             14                9             100
 Wholesale Trade                                        87             2                 *             100
 Retail Trade                                           74             9                 17            100
 Accommodation, Cafes And Restaurants                   81             12                7             100
 Transport And Storage                                  87             *                 10            100
 Communication Services                                 98             2                 *             100
 Finance And Insurance                                  57             *                 3             100
 Property And Business Services                         97             *                 *             100
 Government Administration And Defence                  91             *                 8             100
 Education                                              86             *                 14            100
 Health And Community Services                          87             2                 10            100

 Personal and other services                            72             27                1             100
 Cultural And Recreational Services                      81            10                  9             100
*Please note also that the information has been taken from weighted PRELIMINARY data from the NCVER 2005 Survey of
Employer Use and Views. Final (total) data from the SEUV will be available by the end of the year should you require more
reliable/published data.
*Numbers shaded have an error rate of over 25% and should be treated with caution.




36                     Addressing barriers to the employment and training of traditional trades apprentices and trainees
                                                                                                 in the minerals industry
Employer satisfaction with quality of training
The SEUV also reports on employer satisfaction with the quality of training provided by the
training provider delivering formal training for their apprentices and trainees. About 80% of all
employers reported satisfaction and 13% reported dissatisfaction. The findings indicate that the
most satisfied were the employers in the wholesale trade industry, followed by those in
manufacturing, and transport and storage. The lowest level of satisfaction was reported by
employers in the mining (49%), electricity, gas and water supply industries (51%) and finance and
insurance (62%). Almost a fifth of employers in personal and other services industry were
dissatisfied with the quality of training, while between 10% and 14% of employers in
construction, communication services and retail trades also reported dissatisfaction. These data
are reported in table 8.

Table 8: Employer satisfaction with quality of training from main formal training provider for
apprentices and trainees by industry

 Industry                                      Satisfied        Dissatisfied     Neither           Total
                                               Row %            Row %            Row %             Row %
 Agriculture, Forestry And Fishing             50               *                31                100
 Mining                                        49               *                *                 100
 Manufacturing                                 97               2                1                 100
 Electricity, Gas And Water Supply             51               *                3                 100
 Construction                                  86               14               0                 100
 Wholesale Trade                               99               1                0                 100
 Retail Trade                                  78               12               10                100
 Accommodation, Cafes And
 Restaurants                                   81               10               9                 100
 Transport And Storage                         91               3                6                 100
 Communication Services                        83               13               *                 100
 Finance And Insurance                         62               *                *                 100
 Property And Business Services                89               *                *                 100
 Government Administration And
 Defence                                       76               5                19                100
 Education                                     85               0                15                100
 Health And Community Services                 83               1                16                100
 Cultural And Recreational Services            81               1                18                100
 Personal And Other Services                   66               19               15                100
 Total                                         80               13                8                 100
*Please note also that the information has been taken from weighted PRELIMINARY data from the NCVER 2005 Survey of
Employer Use and Views. Final (total) data from the SEUV will be available by the end of the year should you require more
reliable/published data.
*Numbers shaded have an error rate of over 25% and should be treated with caution.




II. Graduate satisfaction with quality of training
The just published NCVER‘s Students Outcomes Survey (SOS 2005) surveys graduates of VET
courses and programs. The overwhelming majority of graduates (85%) from apprenticeship and
traineeship programs indicated that overall they were satisfied with the quality of training
provided in their programs. There were 7% who were not satisfied with training quality.
Satisfaction with training quality was also true for well over 80% of those working in
tradesperson and related occupations, and as technicians and associated professionals. In
addition, four-fifths of all VET graduates working in the mining industry also reported overall
satisfaction with training quality. Table 9 provides these data.


37                     Addressing barriers to the employment and training of traditional trades apprentices and trainees
                                                                                                 in the minerals industry
Table 9: Satisfaction with quality of training, of graduates who enrolled in training due to an
apprenticeship or traineeship, by occupation and industry of employment after training

                                                   Overall, I was satisfied with the quality of this training
                                                   (summary)

                                                   Agree            Disagree         Neither          Total
                                                                                     agree nor
                                                                                     disagree

 Occupation after training                         Row %            Row %            Row %            Row %
 Managers and Administrators                       87               5                8                100
 Professionals                                     80               9                11               100
 Technicians and Associate Professionals           89               4                7                100
 Tradespersons and Related Workers                 86               6                8                100
 Advanced Clerical and Service Workers             89               5                7                100
 Intermediate Clerical, Sales and Service          85               8                7
 Workers                                                                                              100
 Intermediate Production and Transport
 Workers                                           85               8                7                100
 Elementary Clerical, Sales and Service
 Workers                                           81               8                11               100
 Labourers and Related Workers                     84               6                10               100
 Total                                             85               7                8                100
 Industry of employment after training
 Agriculture, forestry and fishing                 89               6                5                100
 Mining                                            85               5                10               100
 Manufacturing                                     81               9                10               100
 Electricity, gas and water supply                 83               8                9                100
 Construction                                      89               4                7                100
 Wholesale trade                                   85               7                8                100
 Retail trade                                      82               8                10               100
 Accommodation, cafes and restaurants              87               5                8                100
 Transport and storage                             77               10               13               100
 Communication services                            85               4                11               100
 Finance and insurance                             80               8                12               100
 Property and business services                    86               5                9                100
 Government administration and defence             88               7                6                100
 Education                                         85               7                8                100
 Health and community services                     89               6                5                100
 Cultural and recreational services                89               7                3                100
 Personal and other services                       84               7                9                100
  Total                                            85               7                8                100
Source: National Centre for Vocational Education Research, 2005, Student Outcomes Survey
* Base = graduates who completed training at a TAFE, Private Provider or Other government provider and were employed in
the mining industry after training




VET graduates in the mining industry
Just over four in five workers in the mining industry who had completed an apprenticeship or
traineeship, were satisfied with the quality of the training they had received during their VET
programs. About 5% reported that they had been dissatisfied with its quality.

However, about nine in ten tradesperson and related workers, intermediated production and
transport workers and four in every five intermediate clerical and service workers in the mining

38                     Addressing barriers to the employment and training of traditional trades apprentices and trainees
                                                                                                 in the minerals industry
industry indicated that they were satisfied with the quality of training. In contrast just four in ten
labourers and related workers in the industry who responded to the survey indicated their
satisfaction. There were 5% of unsatisfied respondents working in trades and related
occupations. These data are reported in table 10.

Table 10: Satisfaction with quality of training, of graduates who enrolled in training due to an
apprenticeship or traineeship, who were employed in the mining industry after employment, by
occupation of employment after training


                                                                  Overall, I was satisfied with the quality of this
                                                                  training (summary)
                                                                  Agree             Disagree      Neither        Total
                                                                                                  agree nor
                                                                                                  disagree

 Occupation after training                                        Row %             Row %         Row %          Row %
 Managers and Administrators                                      *                 0             0              *
 Professionals                                                    *                 0             0              *
 Technicians and Associate Professionals                          *                 *             *              100
 Tradespersons and Related Workers                                89                5             6              100
 Advanced Clerical and Service Workers                            0                 0             0              0
 Intermediate Clerical, Sales and Service Workers                 80                *             0              100
 Intermediate Production and Transport Workers                    95                *             *              100
 Elementary Clerical, Sales and Service Workers                   *                 0             *              *
 Labourers and Related Workers                                    41                0             *              100
  Total                                                            85                5              10           100
Source: National Centre for Vocational Education Research, 2005, Student Outcomes Survey
* Base = graduates who completed training at a TAFE, Private Provider or Other government provider and were employed in
the mining industry after training




III. Graduate satisfaction with career prospects
About 70% of graduates were satisfied with the career prospects associated with their jobs,
compared to 14% who were not satisfied with these aspects. Those most likely to agree that their
jobs had good career prospects were professionals, followed by tradespersons and related
workers, and technicians and associate professionals. The least likely to agree that this was the
case were labourers and related workers, elementary, clerical, sales and service workers and
intermediate production and transport workers. These three groups along with advanced clerical
and service workers were most likely to indicate that their jobs did not have good career
prospects. Almost a fifth of those in manager and administrator roles also indicated that their
jobs did not have good career prospects.

Mining was one of the five industries recording the highest levels of graduate satisfaction (about
four-fifths of graduates) in terms of good career prospects in their current jobs. The other
industry sectors were finance and insurance; electricity, gas and water supply; construction,
personal and other services. About 11% of graduates in the mining industry disagreed that their
jobs provided good career prospects. Table 11 reports these data.




39                    Addressing barriers to the employment and training of traditional trades apprentices and trainees
                                                                                                in the minerals industry
Table 11: Satisfaction with job career prospects after training, of graduates who enrolled in training
due to an apprenticeship or traineeship, by occupation and industry of employment after training

                                                     My job has good career prospects (summary)


                                                     Agree             Disagree       Neither       Total
                                                                                      agree nor
                                                                                      disagree

 Occupation after training                           Row %             Row %          Row %         Row %
 Managers and Administrators                         71                18             11            100
 Professionals                                       84                6              10            100
 Technicians and Associate Professionals             81                8              10            100
 Tradespersons and Related Workers                   83                7              11            100
 Advanced Clerical and Service Workers               68                21             12            100
 Intermediate Clerical, Sales and Service
 Workers                                             68                14             18            100
 Intermediate Production and Transport
 Workers                                             56                21             23            100
 Elementary Clerical, Sales and Service
 Workers                                             52                25             23            100
 Labourers and Related Workers                       49                24             27            100
 Total                                               70                14             16            100
 Industry of employment after training
 Agriculture, forestry and fishing                   55                16             29            100
 Mining                                              80                11             10            100
 Manufacturing                                       68                14             18            100
 Electricity, gas and water supply                   85                10             *             100
 Construction                                        82                7              11            100
 Wholesale trade                                     63                22             15            100
 Retail trade                                        64                20             16            100
 Accommodation, cafes and restaurants                65                15             21            100
 Transport and storage                               67                12             21            100
 Communication services                              60                16             25            100
 Finance and insurance                               87                3              10            100
 Property and business services                      71                14             14            100
 Government administration and defence               79                8              13            100
 Education                                           60                21             19            100
 Health and community services                       72                11             18            100
 Cultural and recreational services                  70                22             8             100
 Personal and other services                         80                9              11            100
  Total                                              71                  14           16             100
Source: National Centre for Vocational Education Research, 2005, Student Outcomes Survey
* Base = graduates who completed training at a TAFE, Private Provider or Other government provider and were employed in
the mining industry after training




VET graduates in the mining industry
Eight in every ten graduate respondents indicated that the jobs they were currently doing in the
mining industry had good career prospects. In contrast one in ten did not believe this to be the
case for their jobs. About nine in ten intermediate clerical, sales and service workers and
intermediate production and transport workers, and eight in ten tradesperson and related workers
in the industry reported that their jobs had good career prospects. In contrast there were just


40                     Addressing barriers to the employment and training of traditional trades apprentices and trainees
                                                                                                 in the minerals industry
four in ten labourers and related workers who reported that they were satisfied with the career
prospects associated with their jobs. These details are reported in table 12.

Table 12: Satisfaction with current job career prospects of graduates who enrolled in training due to
an apprenticeship or traineeship, who were employed in the mining industry after training, by
occupation of employment after training


                                                                 My job has good career prospects (summary)

                                                                 Agree             Disagree       Neither        Total
                                                                                                  agree nor
                                                                                                  disagree

 Occupation after training                                       Row %             Row %          Row %          Row %
 Managers and Administrators                                     *                 0              0              *
 Professionals                                                   *                 0              0              *
 Technicians and Associate Professionals                         *                 *              *              100
 Tradespersons and Related Workers                               80                *              11             100
 Advanced Clerical and Service Workers                           0                 0              0              0
 Intermediate Clerical, Sales and Service Workers                92                0              *              100
 Intermediate Production and Transport Workers                   87                *              *              100
 Elementary Clerical, Sales and Service Workers                  *                 0              0              *
 Labourers and Related Workers                                   44                *              0              100

  Total                                                            80               11             10           100
Source: National Centre for Vocational Education Research, 2005, Student Outcomes Survey
*Base = graduates who completed training at a TAFE, Private Provider or Other government provider and were employed in
the mining industry after training




IV. Graduate satisfaction with training opportunities
Almost four-fifths of graduates were satisfied with the opportunities provided by their jobs for
training and learning to improve skills and knowledge, compared with just under 10% who did
not agree this to be the case. Professionals, followed by managers and administrators and
tradespersons and related occupations were the occupational groupings which were most likely to
report that their jobs provided opportunities to improve skills and knowledge. The least likely to
do so (almost two-thirds) were labourers and related workers.

Just under three-quarters of those in the mining industry agree that their jobs provided training
and learning opportunities to improve skills and knowledge. However, 90% of those working in
the finance and insurance industry agreed this was the case for them. They were closely followed
by workers in personal and other services, health and community services, government
administration and defence, construction and electricity, gas and water supply industries (about
85%). Table 13 provides these details.




41                    Addressing barriers to the employment and training of traditional trades apprentices and trainees
                                                                                                in the minerals industry
Table 13: Satisfaction with job after training, of graduates who enrolled in training due to an
apprenticeship or traineeship, by occupation and industry of employment after training

                                                         My job provides training and learning opportunities
                                                         to improve my skills and knowledge (summary)


                                                         Agree           Disagree        Neither         Total
                                                                                         agree nor
                                                                                         disagree

 Occupation after training                               Row %           Row %           Row %           Row %
 Managers and Administrators                             87              4               9               100
 Professionals                                           88              6               6               100
 Technicians and Associate Professionals                 78              9               14              100
 Tradespersons and Related Workers                       84              6               11              100
 Advanced Clerical and Service Workers                   69              12              19              100
 Intermediate Clerical, Sales and Service Workers        80              7               13              100
 Intermediate Production and Transport Workers           71              15              14              100
 Elementary Clerical, Sales and Service Workers          70              16              14              100
 Labourers and Related Workers                           65              13              22              100
 Total                                                   78              9               13              100
 Industry of employment after training
 Agriculture, forestry and fishing                       75              8               17              100
 Mining                                                  74              10              16              100
 Manufacturing                                           75              11              14              100
 Electricity, gas and water supply                       85              *               7               100
 Construction                                            84              5               11              100
 Wholesale trade                                         74              15              11              100
 Retail trade                                            74              13              13              100
 Accommodation, cafes and restaurants                    70              9               20              100
 Transport and storage                                   76              9               16              100
 Communication services                                  76              6               18              100
 Finance and insurance                                   90              3               7               100
 Property and business services                          79              7               14              100
 Government administration and defence                   86              5               10              100
 Education                                               77              13              11              100
 Health and community services                           85              6               9               100
 Cultural and recreational services                      72              13              15              100
 Personal and other services                             86              5               9               100
  Total                                                  78              9               13             100
Source: National Centre for Vocational Education Research, 2005, Student Outcomes Survey
*Base = graduates who completed training at a TAFE, Private Provider or Other government provider and were employed in
the mining industry after training




42                     Addressing barriers to the employment and training of traditional trades apprentices and trainees
                                                                                                 in the minerals industry
VET graduates in the mining industry
Almost three quarters of graduates working in the mining industry reported that their job
provided them with training and learning opportunities to improve skills and knowledge. Just
10% reported this not to be the case. Where over eight in ten workers in intermediate clerical,
sales and service occupations agreed that their jobs provided them with these opportunities, just
under three-quarters of the tradespersons and related workers reported this to be the case. These
are reported in table 14.

Table 14: Satisfaction with job after training, of graduates who enrolled in training due to an
apprenticeship or traineeship, who were working in the mining industry after training, by occupation
of employment after training

                                                                My job provides training and learning
                                                                opportunities to improve my skills and
                                                                knowledge (summary)

                                                                Agree             Disagree       Neither        Total
                                                                                                 agree nor
                                                                                                 disagree

 Occupation after training                                      Row %             Row %          Row %          Row %
 Managers and Administrators                                    *                 0              0              *
 Professionals                                                  *                 0              0              *
 Technicians and Associate Professionals                        *                 *              *              100
 Tradespersons and Related Workers                              76                *              17             100
 Advanced Clerical and Service Workers                          0                 0              0              0
 Intermediate Clerical, Sales and Service Workers               81                *              *              100
 Intermediate Production and Transport Workers                  85                *              *              100
 Elementary Clerical, Sales and Service Workers                 *                 *              *              *
 Labourers and Related Workers                                  *                 *              *              100
 Total                                                        74                10           16           100
Base = graduates who completed training at a TAFE, Private Provider or Other government provider and were
employed in the mining industry after training



V. Summary
Surveys of employer views and student outcomes indicate that there is general satisfaction with
the training provided to apprentices and trainees. However this tends to vary across industry
sectors in the following ways:
 1. The majority of employers are satisfied with the quality of training however mining
    industry employers and those in agriculture, forestry and fishing provide the lowest rates of
    satisfaction with the quality of training.
 2. In general the great majority of employers in the mining industry believe that their
    apprentices and trainees help to meet skill needs.
 3. 80% of graduates in the mining industry are satisfied with career prospects, three-quarters
    believe that their job provides them with opportunities to improve skills and knowledge.




43                   Addressing barriers to the employment and training of traditional trades apprentices and trainees
                                                                                               in the minerals industry
      ‗Fast-tracking‘ across jurisdictions
In this chapter we provide a brief description of the forces driving the perceived need for fast-
tracking, and a description of ‗fast track‘ programs that are available for different trades across
jurisdictions. We describe where they are delivered and explore the role that they programs serve.
We also identify any advantages and disadvantages associated with these programs.


I. Background
Persistent skill shortages in traditional trades have required a review of existing training strategies
across jurisdictions. Toner (2005) notes that these skill shortages are caused by ‗sustained levels
of output‘ by those industries employing large numbers of tradespeople (mining and mining
processing, utilities, communications, construction, manufacturing and tourism), and reduced
ratios of apprentices to existing tradespeople. They have also been caused by demographic
changes which have witnessed the gradual reduction of available young people (say 15-19 year-
olds) to take up apprenticeships. Toner notes that this age group accounted for about 12% of the
total population in the 1970s, compared to 7% currently. He goes on to say that skills shortages
in the traditional trades are also caused by other changes. These include rising school retention
rates, and increased tertiary participation which have reduced the proportion of those who would
have been suitable for apprenticeship pathways. The growth of the services sector with available
jobs for school leavers has also provided competition for traditional apprenticeship pathways.
Furthermore public utilities and other agencies which once employed large numbers of
apprentices have now commercialised and outsourced their services. Outsourcing has increased
the number of small specialist firms which do not as a rule have a high investment in training,
and has also increased dependence on labour hire firms.

Against this background of skills shortages there has been a push to review the models used for
the training of apprentices in all states and territories. These have generally dealt with
implementing training and recognition strategies to enable apprentices and trainees to achieve
early completion of their contracts of training.


II. The concept of fast-tracking
Although the term ‗fast-tracking‘ is generally used to signify arrangements for early completion
there is a general feeling that this misrepresents the intent of acceleration. What is generally
accepted as fast-tracking is implementing strategies which do not alter the number or quality of
competencies that must be demonstrated, but accelerates the achievement of these competencies
through modifications to the delivery system. The acquisition of competencies can be achieved
by altering or intensifying the training provided, and increasing access to prior learning
assessments for those with relevant trade knowledge and experience.

In terms of fast-tracking apprenticeships in the engineering trades (relevant to this study because
mines generally require mechanics and fitters covered by the engineering award) there is general
distaste for using the term ‗fast-tracking‘ and some reservations about shortening the nominal
duration of contracts. Instead there is a belief that accelerating completion can be done under
the current legislation and advancement based on the achievement of competencies can also be
done under the current engineering award. In the Queensland context there is general support
for strategies concerning the use of RPL strategies for acknowledging the skills and experience of
those with industry experience. Western Australia has implemented a ‗fast-tracking‘ program

44                 Addressing barriers to the employment and training of traditional trades apprentices and trainees
                                                                                             in the minerals industry
where individuals who have 5 or more years industry experience and are identified as a ‗fast-track
apprentice‘ also sign up for 48 months with opportunities for credit transfer based on industry
experience and knowledge. Nevertheless, any Western Australian apprentice can still apply for
early completion if he or she has acquired the qualification and can demonstrate competency
levels to the standards and levels required by industry. The metals industry in Western Australia
has agreed to the reduction of durations from 4 years to 3.5 years for specific metal trades
(fabrication, mechanical, aircraft maintenance, ship-wrighting and boat-building).


III. State and territory strategies
Fast-tracking of apprenticeships in New South Wales is based on the implementation of
strategies to recognise the previous attainment of required competencies. These include
recognition of current competencies in the case of mature age engineering apprentices and
specific pre-apprenticeship training as outlined below in the TradeStart at TAFE program. The
early sign-off of training contracts has been available for some time but has been recently
streamlined with staff in regionalised State Training Centres being given delegations to approve
early or competency based completion. At present this delegation allows training contracts to be
signed off up to 12 months earlier than the nominal duration of the contract. In all cases, quality
assurance measures are in place. For example, evidence of completion of the required AQF
qualification must be provided and the employer must concur that the apprentice/trainee has
achieved the required competencies.

The early completion of traineeships in Victoria is a common occurrence. Here 80% of trainees
finish their contracts of training before their nominal duration. However, the early completion of
apprenticeships is less common, with about 25% of apprenticeships achieving early completion.
In the main apprentices may complete early by finishing between 8 and 9 months prior to the
nominal duration of their contracts. There is a move to encourage industry training boards to
accept the concept the mandatory reduction of duration of training contracts if individuals have
completed a pre-apprenticeship program.

Under the Queensland accelerated apprenticeships program about 19 projects are being
implemented to trial the delivery of qualifications in shorter than nominal durations. Among
these are pilot programs in building and construction, mining, manufacturing, and engineering,
which deal with reducing the nominal duration of apprenticeships, and accelerating the
completion of these apprenticeships. The aim is to fund 182 apprenticeship places each year over
three years. Although there are a variety of models applied, the main strategies used to pilot these
new arrangements are intensive up-front training, expansion of traditional pre-vocational training
to deliver the off-the-job components prior to enable would be apprentices to be work ready
once they move into industry, and RPL and associated gap training for existing workers so that
they can move into advanced stages of the apprenticeship. The Smart Skills Initiative has also
developed a new cadetship program. Under the cadetship program funds have been allocated to
provide training places in new high level qualification pathways. Designed to complement the
traditional apprenticeship and traineeship system, this new learning pathway allows students to
acquire higher level qualifications than through an apprenticeship, but still in a work-based
setting. It combines the general and technical skills required to work as a para-professional in the
targeted industries.

The Fast Track Apprenticeship Program is one of a number of strategies aimed to address
current and impending skill shortages within specified Industries in Western Australia. This
program is a joint venture by the relevant Industry Training councils and the Apprenticeship and
Traineeship Support Network (on behalf of the Apprenticeship and Traineeship Directorate for
WA Department of Education and Training. There are also other discrete skills-development
programs aimed at specific industries with skills shortages, and the Trades Start program. These

45                 Addressing barriers to the employment and training of traditional trades apprentices and trainees
                                                                                             in the minerals industry
latter programs aim to provide industry with individuals who are work ready. Some who
complete the programs may want to move into a formal apprenticeship scheme, others may just
want to acquire the skills to obtain employment. The School Apprenticeship Link (SAL) program
is also aimed at accelerating the acquisition of technical skills, with students on the program
spending two days a week on-the-job and 3 days in school.

All trade apprenticeships in South Australia are either three or four years duration with provision
for early sign-off when at least 75% of the term of the contract has been completed. There is
also provision for early sign off prior to completion of 75% of the term of the contract if there is
an exceptional and compelling reason to do so. In 2004 unpublished successful completion data
indicated that about 24% of the total apprentice and trainee completions are signed off at an
earlier date to the nominal term of the contract. However many industries in the state are looking
at increasing acceleration through the apprenticeship by making better use of Recognition of
Prior Learning processes. A number of pilot projects have been implemented to speed up the
completion of apprenticeships. (Appendix C also provides details on strategies developed in the
Childcare industry.)

Fast-tracking of apprenticeships in Tasmania comes under the TradesExpress program, which is
still under development. There are as yet no specific guidelines for the TradesExpress program.
However, a range of alternatives are being considered. When existing workers are identified for
an apprenticeship their current competencies will be assessed by the RTO (generally TAFE). As
well as being used to award RPL this process will also identify any gaps in competencies and
levels of competencies that need to be addressed. Once this has been done they will go to the
relevant training team who will conduct and assess the training. This may comprise a work-based
training project, or attending classes or practical workshops. There is currently a process in place
whereby TAFE and industry bodies are investigating the viability of shortening the duration of
contracts by providing more intensive off-the-job and on-the-job training. This process is aimed
at collaborating with industry in identifying the most appropriate training model for their
particular needs.

The concept of ‗fast-tracking‘ in its pure sense is not used in the Australian Capital Territory.
They use the strategies already available under the CBT framework to acknowledge the
achievement of competencies as this occurs and to accelerate the completion of the
apprenticeship in shorter time frames than the normal four-year term duration.

The Northern Territory uses the Competency-Based Training and Assessment model to ensure
that individuals are able to complete apprenticeships as soon as they have achieved the on and
off-job competencies to the required standards. In this way, any apprenticeship in the Northern
Territory can be fast-tracked and is not tied to a fixed completion date. Areas of skill shortage
which attract additional assistance in the form of Northern Territory Government apprenticeship
incentives includes the majority of the traditional trades.

Appendix C provides detailed information on different fast-track models being applied across
states and territories where these are in place.




46                 Addressing barriers to the employment and training of traditional trades apprentices and trainees
                                                                                             in the minerals industry
III. Summary
Table 15 provides a breakdown of the major components of the different programs across
jurisdictions.

Table 15: Fast track program components by State locations.

                                  NSW        QLD        VIC         WA         SA         TAS        NT        ACT

Specific state-wide programs      X          X                      X                     X
in place
Industry-specific programs        X          X          X           X          X          X          X         X
RPL for relevant skills and       X          X                      X          X          X                    X
experience in skill shortage
areas
Early completion                  X          X          X           X          X          X          X         X
arrangements
Intensive upfront theory and      X          X                      X*                    X                    X
practice training
Mature age focus                  X          X                      X          X          X                    planned
CBT + time approach               X                                 X          X          X
CBT only                                     X                                                       X         X
Apprentices sign contract with    X          X          X           X          X          X                    X
specified nominal durations




III. Perceived benefits and disadvantages of piloted ‗fast-
tracking‘ models
Conversations with those responsible for implementing programs and information provided in
published reports or articles highlighted positive and negative experiences with the different
models of training. However, it is important to recognise that all the programs that have been
reported in this report have not reduced the nominal duration of the traditional apprenticeship,
and apprentices continue to sign on for the traditional term. On completion, the traditional trade
programs reported here lead to the achievement of a Certificate III trade outcome, and in some
cases Certificate IV qualifications and above. This means that the issue of fragmentation of
qualifications was not raised as a major problem in this phase of the study. However this issue is
raised in later discussions in this report.

The TradeStart in TAFE program
To date the reaction to the NSW TradesStart in TAFE pilot project has been very positive.
However the challenge is to get agreement with unions and employers. The early completion of
apprenticeships also raises a number of consequences for RTOs and employers (especially group
training companies). Under User Choice funding RTOs and group training companies will
receive funding for completion of the various stages of the apprenticeship. If apprentices and
trainees complete their programs early this means that it is possible for RTOs and group training
companies to ‗roll‘ students through the system more quickly. This also opens up opportunities
to take on extra students. Extra students means extra subsidies for both organisations. However,
there are also disadvantages for both organisations which are associated with the subsidies. Early
completions means that the number of students on the RTO or GTC books for the nominal



47                     Addressing barriers to the employment and training of traditional trades apprentices and trainees
                                                                                                 in the minerals industry
duration of the apprenticeship is decreased. The Commonwealth incentives, however are time-
based.

Other industry programs
There are also particular advantages for the individual and the NSW Child Care industry in
having a flexible approach to training, and customising requirements to individual needs. It
means that training is relevant to the work situations of individuals, and it takes note of the ability
of individuals to progress through the achievement of competencies at their own rate. The
program also enabled the establishment of closer relationships between TAFE supervisors and
centre directors. This led to the identification of further professional development opportunities
for other staff. In addition, the application of RPL assessments to accredit prior knowledge and
skills of childcare workers with considerable experience has also helped to increase the
participation in training and assessment of these groups.

However, increased flexibility also meant that students were not made fully aware of what was
expected of them for the duration of the semester. This lack of certainty was an issue.
Suggestions for up-front communication of the structure of the total program were to be
implemented for subsequent groups. The training providers involved in the Child Care program
found that more classroom-based instruction was required if all the content required for the
diploma program were to be completed in an appropriate period of time. Some students voiced
frustration with having to attend more classes at night and decided to accelerate completion of
the diploma by taking further modules over the Christmas break or applying for further RPL
assessments.

The advantages for espoused in South Australian program publications relate to jobseekers (that
is those who are not existing workers) and existing workers. The advantages of the strategy for
job seekers programs is that it enables employers to select and train a worker to suit their
particular business needs and culture. It also engenders trainee loyalty to the organisation, and
combining on-and-off the job training provides an effective learning approach. For existing
workers it allows them to gain a diploma quickly while earning an income, and helps employers
by providing them with qualified staff required under licensing regulations. For the system as a
whole it helps to improve quality of services and also engenders loyalty and commitment to the
organisation by existing workers.

Automotive trades
The major advantages of fast-tracked automotive apprenticeships currently adopted by some
dealerships in Victoria and South Australia is to enable apprentices to access full tradesperson
wages in a quicker time frame. Another advantage is to enable existing workers in Victorian
dealerships who have performing valuable tasks to acquire trade qualifications.

The major issue with respect to this program is keeping up the appropriate ratio of apprentices to
tradesperson ratio. Another issue is the expense of the program, especially in small companies.
Re-writing the training modules so that they are up-to-date and relevant to the industry and the
company has also been a big job. It costs about $18 000 a month to run the training centre and
companies need to be big enough to afford this cost.

However, it seems that employers continue to prefer the traditional approach.

Printing trades
One of the major advantages of having printing apprentices in Queensland complete training
contracts in a shorter time-frame is that it can help to alleviate the trade shortage. In addition, the

48                 Addressing barriers to the employment and training of traditional trades apprentices and trainees
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pilot enables the CBT approach to be implemented as always intended since its inception. The
pilot also enables the printing industry to test whether the four-year nominal duration is essential
to develop tradesperson status in all the different trade streams. It may also help the industry to
break the mindset that is focussed on four years as the minimum term for apprenticeships.
However, there may be a view that four years may be too long for the finishing and binding
trades, but adequate for the printing machining trades. This is especially the case for businesses
that do not operate small format presses. In view of the large printing machinery that needs to be
operated by machinists, there is a belief that four years apprenticeship is the maximum time
duration for the apprenticeship not the maximum. The industry is generally not in favour of a
school leaver who has just completed a 2.5 years apprenticeship to be faced with responsibility
for a large press. If an apprentice has completed a four-year apprenticeship then he or she is just
that bit older and has the experience and maturity to work in such situations.

Engineering trades
The advantages of a model of which enables apprentices to accelerate the completion of their
engineering training contracts is that the individual can secure a qualification in a quicker time
frame than nominal duration of the contract. In addition completion of different stages of the
program will allow individuals to receive a higher wage rate in a quicker time. It will also reward
them for the effort applied to training. Once they have base grade qualifications they may then
proceed into advanced specialist areas. For the system as a whole the advantage of such an
approach relates to increasing the pool of qualified tradespersons and addressing current skill
shortages.

One disadvantage of this approach is attrition. Because apprentices may opt to follow the normal
four-year program or the accelerated program, some apprentices who commence in the
accelerated program may drop out into the normal program. Others might drop out of the
apprenticeship altogether. In addition there is a potential issue with the inter-transferability of
program where a subsequent host employer does not agree to acceleration.

There are also financial impediments to the implementation of accelerated training in that
investment recovery (planned in terms of 48 months) is reduced if apprentices complete their
apprenticeships in a quicker time which means they are on higher levels of pay. The company has
decided that cost recovery should be based on a per-fortnightly approach rather than the 48
month approach.

The advantages of the ‗Fast Track‘ Apprenticeships approach is promoted by the Western
Australian Department of Education and Training (WA DET) as providing a variety of
workforce, financial and productivity benefits. For example, there will be a reduction of time
away from the workplace for off-the-job training, and updating of current staff technology
knowledge and skill. These type of apprenticeships enable workplaces to have an increased
number of tradespersons in a shorter time frame, which in itself means that the organisation can
hire more apprentices, or if they want to expand to move qualified tradespersons into more
locations. These lead also to productivity benefits.

Providing valued staff with the opportunity to have their skills recognised and to acquire a trade
qualification will also help to enhance staff morale and confidence and therefore workforce
stability. Quality assurance requirements can also be strengthened with the increase in numbers
of qualified staff. In addition to rewarding employees for valued years of service, it also helps to
ease industry skill shortages, and aids in meeting requirements for lincensing in trades where
licensing regulations apply.




49                 Addressing barriers to the employment and training of traditional trades apprentices and trainees
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For individuals these ‗fast-tracked‘ approaches will enable someone who has been working as a
trades assistant or a 2nd class welder or machinist to achieve full qualifications which will move
them into a higher wage bracket.

Nevertheless there are also some disadvantages in ‗fast-tracking‘ using the Western Australian
model if the identification of an individual as a ‗fast-track‘ apprentice is not accurate. This is the
case if the individual does not have the literacy and numeracy skills to ‗fast-track‘ through the off-
the job component of the program. It also applies if individuals do not realise that ‗fast-tracking‘
also involves them putting in the time for study out of work and college hours. So far, however,
most of the apprentices that have gone into these ‗fast-track‘ programs have been successful.
Other disadvantages for employers is that there is always a risk that the employee is provided
with opportunities to up-skill and to get trade qualifications and then they may leave or be
poached by another company.


IV. Summary
In table 16 we summarise the benefits and disadvantages to ‗fast-tracking‘ as reported by study
participants. A breakdown according to specific program area appears at Appendix D.

Table 16: Benefits and disadvantages as perceived by respondents

Benefits                                                   Disadvantages

Apply CBT approach as intended                             Expense and cost recovery issues
Achieve qualification in quicker time frame                Maintaining tradesperson to apprentice ratios
Increase in pool of qualified and or licensed              Attrition from accelerated program
tradespeople for industry
Alleviating skills shortage in industry                    Selection of participant apprentices may not be
                                                           suitable
Accelerated access to full tradesperson wages for          Increase risk of poaching of tradespersons or
individuals                                                employee moving on once training completed
Access to qualifications for people with industry-         Declining subsidies for RTOs if increased use of
specific expertise and experience                          RPL
Development of closer relationships between industry       Increased maturity problems for school leavers
and RTO through more regular workplace visits
Relevant and appropriate training
Review of nominal term durations
Increased morale
Gain qualification quicker while earning
More tradespersons increase in productivity
Less time away from job for apprentices and trainees




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Funding and incentive programs
In this section we identify major funding and incentive programs which support the employment
and training of apprentices and trainees. We focus on incentives provided to employers and
apprentices and trainees by Commonwealth and State and Territory governments, and funding of
special state initiatives.


I. Commonwealth government funding arrangements
The Productivity Commission reports that Australian State and Territory governments spent a
total of $3.9 billion of recurrent funding for 2004.


Commonwealth incentives
Commonwealth government incentives are available to employers for the commencements of
trainees and apprentices in Certificate II, Certificate III and Certificate IV programs. $1375 is
provided for Certificate II commencements and $1650 is provided for Certificate III and IV
commencements. There are also incentives ($1100) for the Certificate III and IV apprentices in
occupations or trades identified as a skill shortage in a non-metropolitan area. Employers also
receive a $2750 incentive on the completion of a Certificate III or IV apprentice.

Although there is an $825 incentive for the recommencements of an out of trade Cert III or Cert
IV apprentice, there are no re-commencement incentives for Certificate II programs.

Group training organisations who mentor Certificate II trainees will be paid $1100 on
completion

In May 2005 the Minister for Vocational and Technical Education announced that the Australian
Government will provide a $1000 free scholarship for eligible individuals undertaking an
apprenticeship or traineeship in a traditional trade at Certificate III and IV level and working for
a small or medium business of 500 or fewer employees. They will receive $500 at the end of each
of their first and second years.

In 2005 the federal government also funded the establishment of The Institute for Trade Skills
Excellence to work with industry (peak industry bodies, ACCI, BCA, AiG and the National
Farmers‘ Federation, industry associations, Industry Skills Councils and other industry experts) to
identify and reward excellence in training. This includes recognising the training conducted by
RTOs, endorsing the trade qualifications awarded by these RTOs, providing teaching excellence
awards, and engaging in promotional campaigns to elevate the quality of trade training and the
status of the traditional trades. A total of $10,000 in 20 trades each year has been allocated to
rewarding teaching excellence.

Special groups
Commonwealth incentives are available to employers who take on apprentices and trainees from
a variety of special groups. These are described separately below.

             1. Mature age workers: Employers who provide apprenticeship or traineeship
                places for mature age workers (over 45 years) are eligible for additional


51                 Addressing barriers to the employment and training of traditional trades apprentices and trainees
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                 subsidies. There is a $825 incentive on commencement and $825 on
                 completion.

            2. Women: Employers who provide women with a place in a non-traditional trade
               for women will also receive a special incentive of $1100 for each female
               apprentice or trainee.

            3. People with disabilities: Assistance is also available for employers of disabled
               trainees apprentices in Certificates II to IV programs). Incentives of $114.73 per
               week or weekly award wage (whichever is the lesser) is available for trainees and
               apprentices employed full-time. Incentives on a pro-rata basis are also available
               for a part-time trainee. In addition there is up to $5500 each for tutorial
               assistance, and mentor/interpreter services, and up to $5000 for workplace
               modifications required.

            4. Indigenous Australians: Employers who employ indigenous apprentices and
               trainees are also eligible for additional subsidies. They will receive $4400 over
               26 weeks for on-going full-time employment or $2200 for on-going part-time
               employment (minimum 20 hours per week).

            5. Existing workers: Employers who place existing employees who have
               completed a Certificate II qualification in the 12 months prior to commencing a
               Certificate III apprenticeship will also be eligible for Commonwealth incentives.

            6. Individuals in exceptional circumstances: Additional incentives are provided
               to employers who take on eligible Certificate II trainees in areas which have
               been impacted by environmental hazards. This subsidy provides incentives of
               $1650 for employers of trainees who hold a current ‗exceptional circumstances
               drought declared area‘ certificate.

            7. Individuals in rural and regional areas: Additional incentives of $1100 are
               available to employers who commence an apprentice or trainee in an occupation
               that is recognised as a skills shortage area in a non-metropolitan area.

Living away from home allowances
Living away from Home allowances (LAFHA) of $77.17 per week are provided to 1 st year
trainees and apprentices and $38.59 per week for 2 nd year trainees and apprentices. In 2005 the
Minister for Vocational Education and Training announced that the government would spend
another $5.8million over the next four years to extend this allowance for third year apprentices.

The New Apprenticeship Access Programme.
The New Apprenticeships Access Programme (NAAP) has also been established to help job
seekers get better skills and to improve their chances of getting a New Apprenticeship. Job
seekers can also use NAAP to get into employment, or further education or training. An extra
5000 places would be made available for preparing individuals to move into a new
apprenticeships.

Sporting Operations incentives
Additional commencement and completion incentives of $1650 are provided for employers of
those who commence an eligible New Apprentice in an approved Sporting Operations
Certificate II qualification.


52                Addressing barriers to the employment and training of traditional trades apprentices and trainees
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School-based apprenticeships and traineeships
Employers will also receive an additional $825 incentive for employing a school-based trainee or
apprentice (SBNA) in an endorsed program (at Certificate II to IV level), and a special retention
incentive of $825 if they keep these SBNAs in employment once they have finished their SBNA.
The Minister also announced a $46 million group training initiative to provide group training
companies to assist 11 500 people over the next four years to complete a school-based new
apprenticeship or pre-vocational trade that prepares people to take up apprenticeships.




53                Addressing barriers to the employment and training of traditional trades apprentices and trainees
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Innovation Incentives
The Commonwealth Government has established an innovation incentive to help build Australia
become economically competitive in emerging and traditional industries. This applies to the
development of people with the ability to understand, apply and manage those technologies
considered to be critical for innovation. These are aero skills, telecommunications, information
technology, electro-technology, and laboratory operations. An innovation subsidy $1, 210 is paid
on commencement in an identified occupation. It is only available for those in Certificate III or
IV programs, but not for those in Certificate II programs.

Centrelink Allowances
The government has also made it possible for apprentices and trainees to access fortnightly
Centrelink allowances. For example, apprentices and trainees aged between 16 and 24 are advised
to apply for Youth Allowance, those aged 25 years and over should apply for Austudy and any
indigenous apprentices of any age can apply for ABSTUDY.

Tool Box incentives
In May 2005 the Minister for Vocational and Technical Education released the policy to provide
apprentices in specific traditional trades with $800 for a tool box. Employers of these apprentices
would receive a voucher for the purchase of the tool box once the apprentice has completed the
first three months of training. The apprentice would be entitled to keep the tool box once the
next six months of training were completed. Should the apprentice leave the employer before
completing his training contract the employ is able to keep the toolkit.

The trades specified for this initiative are:
 engineering trades (metal machinist, metal fitter, toolmaker, metal fabricator, welder, sheet-
     metal worker),
 automotive trades (auto electrician, motor mechanic, panel beater, vehicle painter)
     electrical and electronic trades (electrician, refrigeration and air-conditioning mechanic,
         electrical power line trades, electronic instrument trades, electronic equipment trades)
     building and construction (carpenter and joiner, fibrous plasterer, bricklayer, solid plasterer,
         cabinet maker, furniture upholsterer)
 plumbing trades (plumber)
 hospitality trades (chef, cook, pastry-cook)
 hairdressing trade ( hairdresser)

Toner (2005) notes that just one in 20 firms indicate that government incentives are a major
reason for employing apprentices. However, he also suggests that incentives provide important
benefits for employers in ‗helping them to defray the costs‘ associated with employing and
training apprentices, and providing a ‗recognition of the firm‘s key role in this important
institution‘.


II. Summary
In table 17 we provide a summary of the incentives available for apprentices and trainees
according to the various certificate or age group levels.


54                    Addressing barriers to the employment and training of traditional trades apprentices and trainees
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Table 17: Summary table of Commonwealth government incentives for apprentices and trainees

                                                                Apprenticeships                Traineeships
                                                            Cert III    Cert V       Cert II     Cert III     Cert IV

 Commencements                                              X           X            X           X            X
 Completions                                                X           X

 Commencements and completions in Sport                                              X
 Operations

 Commencements and completions of existing                  X
 workers with Cert II qualifications
 Additional subsidies for mature age workers                X           X            X           X            X

 Additional subsidies for women in non-traditional          X           X
 trade area
 Additional subsidies for disability groups and             X           X            X           X            X
 indigenous Australians (full-time and part-time
 programs)
 Skill shortage in non-metro area                           X           X            X

 Rural and remote individuals in recognised shortage        X           X            X           X            X
 skill areas
 Exceptional circumstance - drought                                                  X

 Recommencements (out of trade apprentices)                 X           X
 Scholarships for apprentice and trainee in medium          X           X                        X            X
 and small companies
 School-based apprenticeship or traineeship                 X                        X           X            X

 Innovation Incentive                                       X                                    X            X
 Toolbox                                                    X
 Youth Allowance                                            For apprentices and trainees aged 16 years to 24 years
 Austudy                                                    For apprentices and trainees aged 25 years and over

 Abstudy                                                    For individuals of apprentices and trainees of any age
                                                            group
 New Apprentice Access Program                              For pre-apprentices and trainees




III. State and territory government funding and incentives
State and Territory governments provide funding for apprenticeships and traineeships via State
Training Authorities. Most of the government VET funding is provided to government VET
providers based on the activity plans established by the State Training Authorities. Non-
government VET providers are also eligible for government funding.

State and Territory Training Authorities may access government funds via the following
processes.
 competitive tendering program (in which RTOs tender for funding contracts from State and
     Territory Training Authorities)
 user choice, where government funds flow to the RTO (government or non-government) that has
      been selected by the employer and the apprentice to negotiate key aspects of training, and
      provide delivery and assessment. In 2003 there was about $700.3 million government
      funding allocated to VET via competitive and user choice arrangements.


55                      Addressing barriers to the employment and training of traditional trades apprentices and trainees
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     preferred supplier arrangements where contracts are awarded to providers to provide training for
         extended periods of time


New South Wales
The New South Wales Government: (Board of Vocational Education and Training, 2005) also
provides for:
 the cost of formal training by RTOs and new entrant trainees and apprentices who are citizens
     or permanent residents.
 subsidies for overnight accommodation for apprentices from rural and regional NSW who need
     to be away from home to do their off-the-job training. These allowances were recently
     doubled (from $14 to $28 per day) for accommodation. There is a 12c per kilometre
     allowance for both public and private transport. There are also concession passes for new
     entrant trainees and 1st, 2nd and 3rd year apprentices to travel on CityRail/State Transit
     Authority services to work and to classes.
 payroll tax exemptions for these new entrant trainees and apprentices.
 subsidies for disabled apprentices with disabilities employed by NSW government departments,
     local councils and statutory authorities under NSW Apprenticeship Program for People
     with Disabilities. The NSW Traineeship Program for People with a Disability provides
     traineeships with State government departments and statutory authorities. It refunds the
     full wage and wage related costs for full period of the traineeship. The host organisation
     must provide employment for the trainee on completion of the traineeship.
 a $100 rebate on the cost of car registration for first and second year apprentices.
 funding for group training companies to deliver apprentices for small businesses, rural, regional
     and disadvantaged communities. This was recently increased by another $1 million.
 funding for the TradesStart at TAFE scheme to allow 675 apprentices to complete their first
     year of TAFE training in just 16 weeks.

The NSW government is committed to addressing the shortage of skills in technical and trade
occupations. The government is providing funding for pre-apprenticeship programs and
allocated over $3.2million for training places in areas of critical shortage between October and
June 2003.

Extra Board of Vocational Education and Training (BVET) funds for the Emerging Priorities
program can also be used to extend pilot programs. These were used to extend Child Care
program already described to other venues. This has meant that more assessors could be hired
and trained to operate with this delivery mode.

The NSW Government has also established guidelines which require that government building
and construction projects over $2.5 million must have 20% of trade work undertaken by
apprentices.


Victoria
The Victorian Government provides:
 work-cover exemptions for apprentices and trainees undertaking studies for Cert I, II, III and
    IV qualifications. However, apprentices must be covered by an annual WorkCover policy
    with a licensed insurer. This applies to new entrants to the workforce (employed less than
    three months full-time and 12 months part-time). It also applies to consecutive training



56                    Addressing barriers to the employment and training of traditional trades apprentices and trainees
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      contracts with eligible current and former employers where the time between these is less
      than three months.
 payroll tax exemptions for employers of apprentices and trainees employed by group training
     organisations.
 incentives for apprentices and trainees with a disability employed by a group training
     organisation.
 funding to RTOs to support industry growth and provide community groups with improved
     training and employment opportunities under the Government Funded Training Program,
     and the Apprenticeship and Traineeship Training Program.
 commencement, progression and completion payments for each apprentice or trainee
    employed by group training companies.
 subsidies for group training companies employing a female to undertake non-traditional trade
     or apprenticeships.

Completion Bonus
The Victorian government introduced the Completion Bonus Scheme for apprenticeships and
traineeships in 2003. The rationale for this program is to ensure that 9 in 10 young Victorians
successfully complete their Year 12 or equivalent qualifications (including apprenticeships and
traineeships) by 2010. Individuals who complete an apprenticeship or traineeship have
significantly raised chances of being in unsubsidised employment three months after exit than
those who do not complete. Those with qualifications have also improved chances of finding
work. In view of these data the Victorian government has invested in Completion Bonus
Scheme to make sure that more young Victorians make the successful transition from school to
work.

This scheme provides extra incentives for employers of apprentices who are new entrants (not
existing employees of over 3 months) and are less than 25 years old. A completion bonus is
payable to the employer (under specified conditions) if the apprentice or trainee has completed a
training contract after July 1 2003. Where an apprentice has completed a first qualification as a
School-based Apprentice (SBNA) they will also be eligible to attract a completion bonus for their
next contract of training as an apprentice or trainee. Apprentices will still be eligible attract the
bonus when they have cancelled one training contract and entered another training contract into
a different qualification.

To be eligible the employer must have in their employment three or more apprentices and
trainees undertaking training at least 15 months prior to the expected completion date for the
apprentice, and three months prior to the expected completion date for the trainee. The
employer will receive $1300 for each trainee and $3500 for each apprentice employed after July 1
2003 and $1200 and $2300 for apprentices if the commencement date is prior to January 2002,
and $2300 if the starting date is between 1 January 2002 and 31 December 2002.

Where an employer has three or more new entrant apprentices in training 15 months prior to the
nominal completion date, they will receive a progression payment of $1750 which is payable 12
months prior to the expected completion date of the apprentice, and $1750 on completion.

However, employers who are formally registered as Commonwealth or State Departments or
Instrumentalities will not attract the completion bonus. In addition, group training companies
recognised as not for profit group training organisations initially received completion bonus
payments under the Group Training Employment Support Scheme, but have now had payroll tax
exemptions reinstated.



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The Victorian Government will not provide incentives for existing employees who are entering a
training contract if they have been working three months full-time or 12 months part-time or
casual.


Queensland
A total of $219.4 million is available for the User Choice program in Queensland. Under
SmartVET initiatives there has been an extra $4 million provided per year for the next three years
to improve or provide training in key priority industries. In addition another $2 million will be
provided for RTOs which provide training in high priority areas which require the training of just
small numbers of apprentices. There has also been another $1 million provided for the first and
second years of training for RTOs to increase their recognition of prior learning in industries
where there are critical skills shortages. These priority industries are aviation, environment and
waste management, forestry and timber, food pressing and information technology, building and
construction and engineering. An extra 2000 training places will be made available every year to
meet these skill shortages.

Partnerships established with industry to share (in particular with small to medium enterprises)
the cost of training have also been established. This program is called the Industry Training
Partnerships. Here employers in conjunction with government will each contribute 50% of the
training funds that are required to increase the skills of existing workers in new and emerging
industries and those in which there are critical skill shortages. A total of $7.5 million has been
earmarked for this program. There are 4390 training places being made available for aviation,
pharmaceuticals and biotechnology, engineering, machinery and equipment manufacturing,
boatbuilding, rural enterprises, information technology, e-commerce, environment, forestry
timber, marine and seafood, sport and recreation, and tourism and hospitality.

The strategic purchasing program is funded to the tune of $19.5million. This program is aimed at
the government purchase of priority training that is aimed at stimulating employment and
addresses shortages of critical skills in the state. This funding will also support community and
social development training programs. This program is aimed at the provision of new training in
emerging creative industries, the development of a Skills Passport for seasonal workers, and
training targeted to needs of mining, manufacturing, forestry and timber and building and
construction industries. It is also aimed at improving the training for the sugar industry, light
manufacturing industries, and process manufacturing.

Smart Skills Program
A Smart Skills program has been mounted to provide funding for accelerated apprenticeships ($9
million) with places for 182 apprentices each year in building and construction, mining and
manufacturing and engineering allocated over a three year period.

A total of $1.7 million has been earmarked for up to 150 cadetships. This funding enables
cadetship pilots to trial new high level qualification pathways to complement traditional
apprenticeships and traineeships by providing advanced training from at least the Certificate IV
level up to Diploma and Advanced Diploma pathways. Cadetships are proposed in critical skill
shortage areas such as technical officers, electrical para-professionals, manufacturing operations,
CAD drafting and emerging technologies.

A total of $3 million is earmarked for the Manufacturing Industry Initiative aimed at promoting
the image of the industry, attracting new entrants in to apprenticeships and traineeships where
the industry is experiencing skills shortages, and upgrading the skills of existing workers.



58                 Addressing barriers to the employment and training of traditional trades apprentices and trainees
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The state is also funding (total of $2.85 million) for training in the aviation engineering industry.
The Aviation Australia Training centre is being funded for 114 training places in the areas of
structures, avionics and mechanical qualifications.
The Queensland Government‘s Breaking the Unemployment Cycle initiative aims to raise the labour
market competitiveness of the most disadvantaged jobseekers, increase opportunities for young
people and alleviate skill shortages through the provision of additional apprenticeship and
traineeship opportunities. Implemented in 1998, as at 30 November 2005 it has created more
than 98,000 jobs and assisted more than 130,000 of the less competitive job seekers, including
long term unemployed people to get the assistance they need to enter the workforce.
The Breaking the Unemployment Cycle initiative includes funding to support:
 Training in skill shortage areas. The Building Construction Industry Training Fund makes
    available cash incentives if they take on additional apprentices or trainees in skill shortage
    areas, or low apprentice and trainee intakes. The Structured Training Policy requires 10% of
    the total labour hours on any Queensland government construction project above a certain
    level to be done by apprentices, trainees or cadets or used to top up the skills of existing
    workers. The Strategic Employment Development Program provides a cash incentive of $2000 to
    employers who put on additional apprentices in identified skill shortage areas.
     Training for special groups. The First Start Program funds State and Local Government
        agencies and not-for profit community organisations to employ full-time apprentices and
        trainees. The program primarily targets school leavers, unemployed and disadvantaged
        Queensland job seekers such as Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, Australian
        South Sea Islanders, people with a disability, people from a non-English speaking
        background, young people aged between 15-24 years, mature aged people over 45 years,
        women re-entering the workforce, people living in country and remote areas, and long-term
        unemployed people (12 months or more).
 Provision of materials and equipment required for work. The Start-up program provides a
    subsidy (up to a maximum of $300 per individual) to apprentices and trainees in eligible
    industry areas to assist them with work-related clothing, tools and equipment expenses so
    they can get started in the workplace. Allowances are only available at the Certificate III
    level in the great majority of industries. However, funding is also available for Certificate II
    in aviation, and Certificate IV in Engineering and Aviation. The apprentice or trainee keep
    the clothing, tools and equipment.
 School-based arrangements. The Youth Training Incentive provides incentives for the provision
    of school-based apprenticeship and traineeship opportunities in the public sector across the
    State and in the private sector in identified rural and remote areas.
 Employment initiatives for Indigenous Australians. The Indigenous Employment
   Policy helps Indigenous Queenslanders to acquire skills, obtain jobs and remain in
   employment. It includes the requirement for Government Building and Civil Construction
   Projects in designated Indigenous communities and shires to allocate 20% of the
   employment hours to the employment and training of local Indigenous people, the
   Indigenous Employment and Training Support Officers, and the Indigenous Employment
   and Training Managers.


Western Australia
The Western Australian Government
 offers employer pay roll tax exemptions for taking on apprentices and trainees.
 provides funding for employers to take on IT trainee in the SkillIT program.
 provides funding for the Priority Access Program aimed at using government procurement and
     contracting policy to increase training for young Western Australians.

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 provides travel and accommodation allowances for trainees and apprentices.
 provides funding for the Indigenous Education Strategic Initiatives program.
 provides funding under the Competitive Allocation of Training program.

Building Skills initiative
The Western Australian Government in conjunction with the construction industry have agreed
to implement a building skills policy to help assure a sufficient supply of skilled labour for the
industry. The policy stipulates that at least 10% of the deemed labour hours on any Western
Australian State Government building and construction contract with a total contract price
exceeding $2 000 000 be used for the employment of apprentices and trainees. Excluded are
Department of Housing residential projects, and government utilities (for example, gas, water,
and electricity).


Tasmania
The Tasmanian Government provides funding for :
 existing employees if they have been employed in the enterprise for not more than three
      months full-time or 12 months part-time.
 pay-roll tax relief for wages paid to apprentices under the Tasmanian Trainee Apprentice
     Incentive Scheme (that is, a rebate equal to the payroll tax paid to the trainees).
 school-based apprenticeships and traineeships.
 Certificate II and III qualifications where market need exists and if approved by the Tasmanian
     Training Agreements Committee.
 Certificate IV, diploma and advanced diploma will only be provided if the qualification relates
     to technical skills (that is not supervisory skills) and is shown to provide the minimum level
     of technical skills required for someone to work in that occupation.
 travel and accommodation allowances to assist apprentices and trainees to study in their chosen
     training organisation (where no local registered organisation providing the training is
     available). These apply to the cost of accommodation, meals and travel for apprentices and
     trainees travelling to regional and interstate locations. Apprentices and trainees who live on
     King or Flinders Islands receive a travel warrant to book an air fare. One payment of
     $50.00 is available for travel from and to the airport from home.
The government also has discretionary provisions to negotiate the funding of structured training
for existing employees who enter an apprenticeship or traineeship if training has not traditionally
been available for an industry or occupation, if such funding is consistent with state priorities and
if there are other extenuating circumstances.
The Skills for Growth initiative is supported by a $12.6 million package to help address skills
shortages in the trades and other growth industries. This money will also be used to fund the
Trades Express program which aims to accelerate the completion of apprenticeships and
traineeships.


South Australia
In addition to the Commonwealth incentives employers of apprentices and trainees in South
Australia are eligible for:




60                 Addressing barriers to the employment and training of traditional trades apprentices and trainees
                                                                                             in the minerals industry
 payroll tax exemptions for all new staff who aged under 25 years who are employed by small or
     medium enterprises and group training organisations undertaking an apprenticeship or
     traineeship.

The Construction Industry Incentives
Apprentices, employers or family members (who have paid apprentice tuition fees) can claim up
to $400 per year for the cost of apprentice tuition fees only. In addition registered employers can
claim up to $1450 per year if they maintain a record (on job skills profile) of on-the-job training
and skill development for each apprentice. This is payable on the anniversary of the training
contract. Also payable on the anniversary of the training contract is a yearly completion subsidy
of $1450. However, funding for electrical apprentices for on-job skills profiling and completions
will be at 25% of the declared rate.


Australian Capital Territory
The Government of the ACT (ACT Department of Education and Training, 2005) provides
payroll tax exemptions to employers who employ apprentices and trainees and some assistance to
apprentices and trainees who have to travel interstate for training.
The Government has committed an additional $5.1million during the 2004–2005 financial year
and continues to support the increased demand for New Apprenticeships places in the ACT.

Building and Construction Training Fund
The ACT Building and Construction Training Fund is administered by the board of The ACT
Building and Construction Training Fund. It comprises a 0.2% levy on building and non-building
work undertaken in the ACT which is valued over $10 000. Funding from this levy is used to up-
skill and cross-skill workers including the training of entry-level workers (that is, apprentices and
trainees). The training fund will provide eligible employers in the trades of bricklaying, and
refrigeration and air conditioning an on-the-job training incentive of $5,000. The first payment is
available at 3 months after the commencement date of the apprenticeship, and a further $3000 at
12 months after commencement. Group training companies in this industry will have their
workers‘ compensation premiums capped at 15%.

Special groups
Funding under this program may also be available for Indigenous Australians, women in a non-
traditional trade and a person with a disability.


Northern Territory
The Northern Territory Government (Department, Employment, Education and Training, 2005)
provides funding to support:
 developing industries or industries experiencing skill shortages.
 payroll tax deductions for the employers of apprentices and trainees.
 travel grants are available for eligible apprentices, for the cost of air, bus or car travel to attend
     training. This includes the payment of transfer costs (i.e. a payment to subsidise the cost of
     travel from the airport or bus terminal) and accommodation for apprentices and trainees
     who have to travel away for training to attend the closest RTO. A kilometre allowance is
     provided to eligible apprentices and trainees who live more than 50 kilometres from the
     closest RTO. Accommodation assistance of $143 for a full week or $20.45 per day for each
     extra day can also be applied for.

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     incentives and assistance to enable employers to take on additional apprentices and trainees.
         (In 2005 the government provided incentives for small businesses (with 10 or less full-time
         staff) to employ additional apprentices and trainees. This includes a one-off incentive of
         $3000 [including GST] for eligible employers following the completion of a three-month
         qualifying period by apprentices. The first 150 of these apprentices/trainees who are still
         employed after three months will attract this incentive. However, it applies only to new
         employees, and those who have not completed a Cert III qualification in the last seven
         years.)
 the Skill Shortages Trades Employer Incentive Scheme provides incentives for employers to
     hire additional apprentices and trainees in areas of skill shortages (Incentives apply to the
     first 75 apprentices employed by eligible employers who remain employed after three
     months qualifying period. These must be full-time new entrants, and not have completed a
     Cert III qualification in the last seven years. Areas of skill shortage are aero-skills,
     automotive, electrical, engineering, food construction and personal services.
 the workwear/workgear bonus scheme is a one-off grant that apprentices and trainees are
     eligible for after three months of employment if they commenced their training contracts
     on or after 4 April 2005. A grant of $300 will be paid to registered apprentices and trainees
     that meet eligibility requirements, and a grant of $1,000 will be paid to apprentices
     undertaking training in an identified Northern Territory skill shortage area. The grant is
     designed to help apprentices and trainees work related items during their first year of their
     apprenticeship.

Special groups
The government also provides funding to support:
 more training opportunities in remote locations, and
 pathways for training and employment for disadvantaged groups


IV. Summary
In table 18 we provide a summary of the state and territory incentives for programs, employers,
RTOs and apprentices and trainees.

Table 18 Summary table of state and territory government incentives


                                        NSW        VIC       QLD       WA      SA         TAS       ACT        NT
 Manufacturing industry initiative                           X

 Aviation training initiative                                X

 Construction industry initiative                                      X       X                    X


 Industry partnerships                                       X

 Cadetships                                                  X

 Accelerated apprenticeship pilot       X                    X         X                  X
 programs
 Pre-apprenticeship initiative          X

 Funding for priority areas             X

                                                   Employer Incentives




62                       Addressing barriers to the employment and training of traditional trades apprentices and trainees
                                                                                                   in the minerals industry
 Employment of apprentices and           X          X*         X          X        X          X          X        X
 trainees in skill shortage area
 Training for existing workers in                              X          X
 skill shortage area
 Training for existing workers in                              X                              X**                 X
 new and emerging industries

 Employment of apprentices and                                 X
 trainees in rural and remote
 areas
 Employment of females in non-                      X*                                                   X
 traditional area
 Employment of school-based                                    X                              X
 apprentices and trainees
 Employment of apprentices and                                 X          X                   X          X        X
 trainees of indigenous
 background
 Employment of apprentices and           X          X*         X                                         X        X
 trainees with a disability
 Employment long-term                                          X
 unemployed
 Employment of additional                                                                                         X
 apprentices
 Payroll tax exemptions or relief        X          X                     X        X          X          X        X

 IT training                                                              X

 Special incentives for rural and        X                                                                        X
 remote areas

 Completion bonus (new entrant                      X
 under 25 years of age)
 Work-cover exemptions                              X***
                                         Subsidies for RTOs
 Improving access to and                                       X
 enhancement of RPL
 Training support for industry                      X
 growth and community
 improvement
                                         Subsidies for individuals
 IT training                                        X                     X
 Work clothes, tools, materials                                X                                                  X
 and equipment
 Travel and accommodation                X***                  X          X                   X          X        X
  Rebate on cost of car                  X
  registration
Notes * employed by group training companies
** if not employed for more than three months part-time or 12 months full-time unless state priorities in place
***for eligible apprentices and trainees




63                      Addressing barriers to the employment and training of traditional trades apprentices and trainees
                                                                                                  in the minerals industry
                      Employer and employee
                 perspectives on ‗fast-tracking‘
In this section we report on employer and employee stakeholder perspectives on ‗fast-tracking‘ of
apprenticeships and traineeships in the mining industry and associated industries.


I. Employer perspectives on ‗fast-tracking‘
Employers in the mining sector are especially concerned about maintaining the quality of training
for tradespersons for their industry. In the main they support ‗fast-tracking‘ for mature age
apprentices (such as former trades assistants or others with experience) who have relevant skills
and experience in trade relevant tasks. However, support is not as strong for the ‗fast-tracking‘ of
school-leaver apprentices.

Concerns about short-term solutions to skill shortages
Employers in the mining sector are of the view that ‗fast-tracking‘ by a variety of mechanisms
may produce the base grade tradesperson in a quicker time frame. However, they are also of the
view that although ‗fast-tracking‘ may produce an individual who may be better than the ‗do-it-
yourself‘ handyman, in the short term, this does not create a tradesperson with higher order skills
for the long-term. It is the exposure to the job this is considered to be a key factor in forging the
competent tradesperson. One contractor noted that it did not make sense to ‗fast-track‘ if you
could not ensure that the tradesperson produced could carry out core maintenance tasks to the
required standard. A failure to do so would lead to a decrease in the type of service that could be
provided and was expected.

Although employer organisations like Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ACCI),
the Australian Industry Group (AiG), the Business Council of Australia (BCA) and the Mining
Council of Australia, support the move to a single IR system, and the further simplification of the
award process. However they also support the appropriate implementation of the competency-
based approach to training and remuneration. Like union representatives employers (especially
those in the mining industry) are concerned about short-term solution to the skills shortage issue.
They are especially keen to preserve the quality of training and qualifications available to
apprentices, and to safeguard the skills available to the industry as a whole.

Implementing competency-based progression
In the main employers in the mining industry support the application of the CBT approach to
skills acquisition and assessment. However there are some mining sector employers who believe
firmly in the combination of CBT and appropriate levels of time for the acquisition of
qualifications and trade outcomes in the key trades (that is electrical, mechanical engineering, and
metal fabrication).

AiG however supports the competency-based system which means that apprentices and trainees
would be released from their contracts once they had acquired and could demonstrate
occupational competency. They also support the linking of wages to the achievement and use of
competencies. Nevertheless a favoured approach to many of the models for ‗fast-tracking‘ that
are being piloted is to preserve the nominal durations of contracts which would allow apprentices

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and trainees to take the full term to complete the contract if they need this time or to complete
the contract once all competencies have been achieved.

Early sign off completion is considered by a number of employers in the mining sector to be a
useful mechanism for recognising competency achieved before the expiry of the nominal
contract duration. This is the case if the apprentice has successfully achieved (under adequate
supervision of on-the-job training and experience) all the competency units that have been
established at the start of the training contract in the Training Plan. However there is also a view
that it is difficult for apprentices (especially in mechanical, fitting and machining, fabrication and
electrical trades) to successfully meet all these requirements to the required standards outside the
traditional nominal term durations. Furthermore, there is the issue of appropriate levels of
maturity being achieved especially for school-leaver apprentices. That it was difficult to put ‗old
heads on young shoulders‘ was a common theme.

Reducing and reviewing nominal durations
Although employers in the mining industry want to ensure that the training system produces
qualified and skilled all-round tradespersons (which generally means preserving traditional
nominal term durations for specific trades) there is also some support for slightly reducing the
specified durations to about 3.5 years in the engineering trades (including for electrical,
mechanical fitters, metal fabricators) for mature apprentices with relevant experience, knowledge
and skill. A minimum term (say 3 years) and a maximum term (say 4 years) approach for mature
age apprentices was also suggested.

There are already arrangements to review and reduce existing nominal durations in Western
Australia. The Skills Formation Taskforce Metals Industry Working Group has gained industry
approval for reducing the traditional 4-year duration for apprentices to a new expected duration
of 3.5 years for engineering tradespersons (fabrication, mechanical, aircraft maintenance
technician), and ship-wrighting and boatbuilding trades. Although the discussions so far have not
included jewellery and watch and clock-making (both traditionally 5 year durations), expected
durations for these have been identified as 4 years. Electricians will still continue with the 4-year
duration until the review of this trade occurs and agreement is gained to reduce it to 3.5 years,
and although discussions have as yet to focus on toolmaking and jigmaking (metal furniture) it is
hoped that this will also be reduced to the 3.5 years duration. Changes agreed to by industry thus
far are in the process of gaining government approval.

However, the AIGroup (2005) has also highlighted the need to make more flexible the duration
of contracts under existing awards. That is, doing away with the concept of fixed term
apprenticeships and shortening the duration of contracts in those occupations that require these.
Not all employers, including those in the mining sector, are in favour in shortening the durations
of contracts. Those in the licensed trades where occupational health and safety are major issues,
are especially keen to ensure that the traditional term be preserved.

Toner (2005) also notes that the majority of employers were not in favour of shortening
apprenticeship terms. Employers were also concerned about losing those fourth year apprentices
to other companies (particularly relevant when about a third of apprentices do not finish with the
company they start with). Toner reports that employers want more incentives to persuade
apprentices to stay.

Compartmentalising or fragmenting qualifications
There was not widespread support for compartmentalising or fragmenting qualifications among
employer representatives from the mining industry that were contacted for this study. All
employers were in favour of preserving quality training and developing quality tradespersons who

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could be relied on to do their jobs. However, the few employers who were in favour of some
compartmentalisation for trades where it made sense to do so, and to meet the needs of
industries suffering acute skill shortages, qualified their support by suggesting that
compartmentalisation in the short-term only made sense if apprentices then went on to acquire
all the competencies that are required by a fully qualified tradesperson. Whether employers were
or were not in favour of compartmentalisation they all espoused the view that the short-term
quick-fix approach to skills shortages would in fact be detrimental to the industry as a whole.. In
addition there was a very real danger that the fragmentation of skill-sets would lead to the
deterioration or disappearance of certain skills (for example, like happened in the restoration
industry when stone masons were in acute shortage).

Removing barriers to employing school-based apprentices and trainees
Restrictions on the employment of school-based apprentices and trainees in some trades
(especially in traditional trades) and in some states have been noted by the AIGroup and by
ACCI. These groups believes that the apprenticeship system needs also to reflect different
requirements for higher skill levels (that is, for diploma and advanced diploma programs) and the
different needs of entry-level and mature age workers.

ACCI also urges the establishment of national wage arrangements to enable all Australians to
undertake an SBA or a part-time apprenticeship or traineeship (Hendy 2005). It also supports the
need to review wage rates so that trainees and apprentices are paid ‗appropriate‘ rates of pay.
ACCI wants to ensure that a wage structure that meets the requirements of shorter duration new
apprenticeships and competency-based arrangements, and wage rates for shorter/specialised skill
qualifications in traditional trades. It also supports wage rates for fast-tracked and older New
Apprentices. It continues to support wage rate for juniors in all industries. There should also be
no obligations on employers to keep the apprentice employed once the contract of training is
completed (ACCI 2005).

Support for ‗fast-tracking‘ adult apprentices
Employers in the mining industry are in favour of ‗fast-tracking‘ apprenticeships for adults who
have been working in the industry in related occupations (for example those working as trades
assistants, or who have had considerable experience in the industry). This is because these
apprentices have already acquired base level skills and have acquired relevant practical experience
over a number of years. There is a view that such programs could be reduced to 3.5 years for
adults with industry relevant experience.

Toner (2005) notes that just 6% of respondents to a question about changes to the
apprenticeship and traineeship system recommended a reduction in the duration of training
contracts.

Support for Australian Technical Colleges
In 2004 the prime minister announced the establishment of 24 Australian Technical Colleges
which would provide specialist senior secondary education and enable students to undertake their
Year 12 certificate and a school-based new apprenticeship in a traditional trades including:
 metal and engineering trades (machinists, fabricators, toolmakers, welders, sheet metal workers)
 automotive trades (mechanics, auto electricians, panel beaters, vehicle painters)
 building and construction (bricklayers, plumbers, carpenters)
 electro-technology (including refrigeration, air-conditioning and electricians)
 commercial cookery

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Each college will specialise in a particular trade and offer trade or trades from at least four of the
above areas.
This establishment of these colleges was one of the solutions envisaged to address skill shortages
in the traditional trades. This had the backing of industry groups like ACCI. The first of these are
set to open their doors in 2006, with the remainder intending to do so by 2008. It is expected that
students will start a Certificate III new apprenticeship in a traditional trade while still at school.
These colleges will differ from schools or TAFE, and will be administered autonomously by
principals appointed by a governing council. Principals will hire teachers and pay them according
to their performance.

Support for national regulatory and licensing arrangements
Employers in the mining sector support a national approach to regulation and licensing.
However, it is not uncommon for companies to require new employers to be inducted into the
use company specific equipment, machinery and vehicles on employment. Although they will
recognise licences they generally want to make sure that the new employee can demonstrate the
competencies and knowledge that is required by the mine.

The AIGroup and Business Council of Australia (BCA) are also critical of the many regulatory
frameworks which affect apprenticeships and traineeships, and the differing requirements for
licensing arrangements. They suggest the collaboration of Commonwealth and State and
Territory Governments in the establishment of national regulatory and licensing framework to
enable ease of portability of qualifications and licenses. Keeping in mind that ‗skill-rich‘ industries
(for example, manufacturing) will need workers to keep abreast of changes in technology, the
AIGroup also suggest the revision of funding arrangements to reflect these needs, and increased
access of apprentices and trainees to training facilities which mirror the types of machinery and
equipment available to workers in modern workplaces.

The ACCI group has also supported the implementation of a national and comprehensive
regulatory framework in view of the disparate sets of state and federal awards and varying
conditions in these. ACCI has urged the government to ensure that it creates a comprehensive
safety net of wages and conditions and has encouraged the establishment of wage safety nets for
apprentices and trainees (especially school-based apprentices and trainees). It recommended the
inclusion of award provisions for school-based apprenticeships. In the new Workplace Relations
(Work Choices) Bill (2005) there are specific provisions for award rates for school-based
apprenticeships.


II. Union perspectives on ‗fast-tracking‘
In general unions support the competency-based approach to skills acquisition and associated
wage rates for the use of acquired skills on the job, and have done so since the implementation of
the training reforms of the late 1980s and 1990s. However, there is also a view that nominal
durations should still apply so that those who need the full term to achieve competency can do
so. There are however some sectors which are of the opinion that the full term of the contract as
it now stands should be preserved in the interests of quality and safety. There is general support
for applying RPL mechanisms to recognise the expertise of workers who have relevant
experience.




Support for skills-based progression

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                                                                                             in the minerals industry
The competency-based model for establishing rates of pay for apprentices and trainees is based
on the concept of progressing wages according to competency achieved rather than the
proportion of the contract completed. As already noted such an approach is attractive in theory
for it pays individuals for the skills they have and are able to apply. However, there is general
opposition to the fragmentation of qualifications or to the narrowing of skill sets required for
occupations.

In his address to a group training conference held in Perth in June 1996, Australian Council of
Trade Unions (ACTU) Assistant Secretary Bill Mansfield (Mansfield 1996) noted that the trade
union movement wanted the training system to enable apprentices and trainees to acquire the
competencies required for working in an occupation or industry. It also supported the
progression of wages based on competency rather than the time that had been served in a
training contract. In addition, it was opposed to having age a factor in determining rates of pay.

The ACTU Congress 2003 (ACTU 2003) has also endorsed the need to improve training wages
for apprentices and trainees and the incorporation of skills-based qualification linked to
competencies. It has also recommended that full award rates be applied to traineeships. In
addition, the Congress supported the need for existing workers who were undertaking a training
contract to receive rates of pay they accessed prior to the uptake of their training contract.

More recently the ACTU (2005) has stated its support for the principles of competency-based
training and that apprentices who are competent should receive both the appropriate
qualification and trade recognition.

Objection to fragmentation of occupations and qualifications
Unions are opposed to any strategies (including fast-tracking) if these lead to the fragmentation
of qualifications and the dilution of skill sets. The ACTU president Sharan Burrow (Burrow
2005) has voiced opposition to the fragmentation of training and qualifications that are perceived
to be associated with the implementation of the proposed new workplace relations reforms. She
is critical of the removal of time limits on training contracts and warned of the dangers of
training providers adopting ‗quick flick and tick‘ approaches if set completion times are removed.
‗Apprentices and trainees should be guaranteed a minimum level of quality training both on and
off-the-job. They need time to acquire sufficient experience and competency. Awards need to
make sure that the quality of the training is protected for all apprentices and trainees‘ she said.

In its submission to the Inquiry into Skills Shortages in Rural and Regional NSW, UnionsNSW (2005)
also stated that it was opposed to the fragmentation of qualifications and dilution of skill sets and
especially to the introduction of part-qualifications. Discussions with union representatives in this
study also highlighted fundamental objections to the fragmentation of qualifications. Union
representatives interviewed for this study also objected to any short-term solution the skills
shortage problem.

Appropriate preservation of nominal contract durations
In its submission to COAG (ACTU 2005) the ACTU stated that it ‗did not support an across the
board approach to the shortening of apprenticeships‘ (p10). However, it was prepared to
consider the matter ‗on an industry by industry basis‘. According to the ACTU any consideration
of the appropriate length of time for an apprenticeship also depended on the ‗competence of
those completing the apprenticeship and the quality of training received both on and off the job‘
(p10).

UnionsNSW did support the need to review existing time-based arrangements for
apprenticeships especially in view of advances in technology, and current skills shortages.


68                 Addressing barriers to the employment and training of traditional trades apprentices and trainees
                                                                                             in the minerals industry
Pointing to the current operation of competency-based approaches to apprenticeships and
traineeships in a number of industries it urged the adoption of such an approach for all
apprentices and trainees. It bemoaned the loss of the high-skills approach to trade training if time
durations were shortened without the preservation of a broad based approach to the
development of occupational expertise.

Already the competency-based model for the establishment of wages is being applied in the
engineering sector, however, there continues to be resistance to shortening the duration of
training contracts in the traditional trades in a number of industries (namely electrical, plumbing
and construction trades). This is because of the safety risks involved if apprentices in the
electrical and plumbing industries have not had the time to amass suitable theoretical knowledge
and practical experience.

In addition, the competency-based approach has also been shown to have some practical
limitations in terms of basing all assessments on the observable performance of technical skill
and ignoring some of the intangible attributes such as workplace orientation and maturity that
generally improve over time (Joint Government Submission to Junior Rates of Pay Inquiry).

Another indication of union attitude to the alteration of the traditional arrangements of the
apprenticeship system can be derived from the Queensland Council of Unions (QCU 2005)
response to the Queensland Government ‗s Green Paper ‗Skills for Growth‘. In its submission
the union argued against the recommendation to ‗shorten the nominal apprenticeship contract
periods for some (but not all) trades from four to three, or even two years in some cases, to
better reflect the time required to achieve competency‘. The union responded that although in
some cases the nominal duration may be ‗longer than necessary‘ it was ‗opposed to the arbitrary
reduction of nominal apprenticeship contracts‘. In doing so it noted that the apprenticeship has
always been ‗employment-based training‘ which meant that both components were equally
valuable in the acquisition of skills. ‗One cannot exist without the other nor can one usurp the
other‘ the union stated.

The union was also of the opinion that moves to reduce time durations of contracts would also
have consequences for the system of wages that were governed by awards. The union supported
the Green Paper‘s intention to review wages, for it was of the opinion that the system of wages
needed to reflect the work done. Wages also needed to reflect that apprentices were not just 15
or 16 year-olds living at home with few living expenses. However, any wage changes needed also
to ensure that apprentices would reach full trade wages once they had completed their
apprenticeships.

In addition, it pointed to problems for the portability and valuing Queensland trade qualifications
across state borders if Queensland trades qualifications were completed in shorter time frames
than those in other states. The union, proposed an alternative to the reduction of time durations,
and suggested that where apprentices completed the initial trade qualifications early they be
allowed to undertake higher level qualifications during the time of the contract. Adopting such a
high skills approach would benefit apprentice and employer and at the same time preserve the
advantages of a longer term apprenticeship. Of course wages would have to progress in tandem
with the achievement of competency.

The union also did not believe in shortening the time duration of contracts even if a new system
allowed apprentices to be released from contracts once all competencies had been achieved. In
fact it supported the retention of the nominal duration of the contract. It suggested the
implementation of an agreed completion date (agreed to by the RTO, apprentice and employer)
which could be less than the nominal completion date could be included in the training plan.

Some reservations about school-based arrangements

69                 Addressing barriers to the employment and training of traditional trades apprentices and trainees
                                                                                             in the minerals industry
There has been union objection to the hiring of school-based and part-time apprentices and
trainees. For example, The Liquor, Hospitality and Miscellaneous Workers Union (LHMU) in
South Australia has been opposed to part-time and school-based provision because of low rates
of pay and insufficient regulation. However, in federal awards the LMHU has implemented
variations to awards to enable school-based arrangements. However, there are some awards
(hairdressing, some Construction, Mining, Forestry & Energy Union [CMFEU] awards that have
implemented a school-based Certificate II traineeship.

School-based part-time apprenticeships have been generally resisted by the construction industry
across jurisdictions. However the signing of the federal construction award makes it possible for
such apprentices to be employed. Major resistance to school-based arrangements have been
related to the danger risks associated with having young students on building sites, the
inflexibility of school time tables, and the limited amount of time spent in the workplace by a
school-based apprentice.

The ACTU (2005) states that the matter of school-based apprenticeships is also another issue
that should be decided on an industry-by-industry basis. It also suggests that this issue be
reviewed once the Australian Technical Colleges have been in operation.

Equity and parity among qualifications
The 2003 Congress of the ACTU also noted that a major issue that needed to be resolved was
the achievement of equity and parity among qualifications issued. What was required was a
reviewing of the qualifications that applied to apprentices, and ‗linking them to the intensity of
the training effort required to achieve them‘.

Implementing a code of practice for quality training
Keeping in mind that group training companies are the second largest employer of apprentices
and trainees, and that in some ways they had turned into ‗quasi labour hire companies where
issues of quality of training and pastoral care are being neglected‘ the Congress also suggested a
number of improvements in terms of minimum placement time with a host employer, and some
agreed measures for payment for down-time. The Congress also suggested the implementation of
a Code of Practice or a Charter of Quality Training.

Appropriate valuing of the employment training concept
The QCU emphasized that it did not support any system which did not give due recognition of
the importance of the combination of formal training (units of competency), non-formal training
(work-skills) and in-formal training (work disciplines). It was fundamentally opposed to any
system based on the completion of formal training only. The union supported the development
of pre-vocational programs, provided that competencies achieved during these programs would
also count when pre-vocational students moved into apprenticeships.

Support for adult apprenticeships
In terms of the development of an adult apprenticeship system, the QCU noted its support and
recognised the need to encourage existing workers into apprenticeships. However, the low wages
that currently applied to apprentices would have to be reviewed to ensure that adult apprentices
were paid appropriate rates of pay. In addition, there was positive support for the
implementation of RPL processes as a means to shorten timeframes, and the application of an
agreed completion date.



70                 Addressing barriers to the employment and training of traditional trades apprentices and trainees
                                                                                             in the minerals industry
III. Summary
A summary of employer and union perspectives on ‗fast-tracking‘ in apprenticeships and
traineeships is provided in table 19.

Table 19: Summary of employer and union perspectives on fast-tracking

                                                                     Stakeholders
                                                       Employers             Employees
Maintain quality and safety standards                  X                     X
Use competency-based progression and early             X                     X
sign off procedures available
Use competency-based progression associated            X                     X
with appropriate on and off-the-job training
Don’t use short-term solution to fix long-term         X                     X
problem
Maintain broad-based occupational trade                X                     X
training for key trades in mining sector based
Compartmentalise skill sets in some                    X*
occupations to meet current skill shortage
provided further training occurs
Preserve nominal term durations for the                X*                    X
present
Review utility of time durations in certain            X                     X
occupations for the future
Remove fixed term durations                            X*
Support for fast-tracking through RPL of mature        X                     X
age workers with relevant industry experience
Reservations about school-based                                              X
apprenticeships in selected industries
Support for Australian Technical Colleges              X
initiative
Support for national regulatory and licensing          X                     X
frameworks
Notes: X = true for majority of employers, X* = Opinion is divided




71                      Addressing barriers to the employment and training of traditional trades apprentices and trainees
                                                                                                  in the minerals industry
         Barriers to employment, training
                       and ‗fast-tracking‘
In this chapter we report on studies which identify the barriers to employment and training of
apprentices and trainees in general and also in the traditional trades. We concentrate on
individual aspirations, industrial relations, legislative mechanisms and disincentives for employers
and employees.

We then look especially at the barriers to implementing fast-track apprenticeships as identified in
interviews with stakeholders.


I. General barriers to the employment and training of
apprentices and trainees
Discussions with employers in the mining sector have identified a particular set of such barriers
which apply to workers including apprentices and trainees in the mining industry. In the main
these relate to location and lifestyle matters. That location and lifestyle issues are major barriers
to employment in the mining industry have also been reported in recent studies of employment
and training in the mining industry (NCVER/NILS 2005). Keeping this in mind those employers
in the mining industry who have decided to employ their own apprentices and trainees are not
experiencing any shortages of applicants.

There are also other barriers which relate to reluctance of individuals to move into trades, and
issues related to industrial relations, wage levels, and regulation. Projected retirement and labour
turnover rates in key trade occupations will also affect the capacity for mining sector companies
to take on apprentices and trainees. In addition, the number of tradespersons in the industry also
far exceeds the number of apprentices.

The focus in many companies on employing tradespeople without also focussing on an effective
plans to replace these as they retire or leave the industry may also be another barrier to the
employment of apprentices in the mining sector. Mining companies and contractors who have
decided to employ their own apprentices have been inundated with applications for
apprenticeships.

Individual aspirations
There needs to be an increased understanding in many industries that individuals may not
genuinely aspire to working in their industries and occupations, or have never even thought
about the possibility. Whether this lack of interest is borne out of limited knowledge about
apprenticeship pathways and associated benefits, or whether it is related to low student
aspirations or aptitude for such work, these are issues that must be considered even before
thinking of ways to accelerate the apprenticeship.

Preliminary findings from a study currently being undertaken by researchers at the National
Centre for Vocational Education Research (Misko, Saunders & Nguyen, 2006 in progress)
indicate that few students in years 10, 11 and 12 consider going into the traditional trades as a
career option. In addition, they suggest that many have not even thought of taking up an
apprenticeship.

72                 Addressing barriers to the employment and training of traditional trades apprentices and trainees
                                                                                             in the minerals industry
Industrial relations
There are few award restriction barriers to the employment of apprentices and trainees in the
mining industry. However, the regulation of the age at which young people can go underground
in some states has implications for those companies whose work is all conducted underground.
Employers providing maintenance services to mining companies have noted their frustration at
not being able to count an apprentice as a member of a team that is sent to a mine site.

Eight studies reviewed for this report indicate workplace relations (with supervisors and
employers) and workplace environment as key reasons for the non-completion of training
contracts by apprentices and trainees. Four studies (Strachan Research, 2005; Cully and Curtain,
2001; Callan, 2000; Schofield, 1999) also report ‗bullying‘ as a reason given for non-continuance
of training. Given the strong recurrence of this theme in the research, there is cause to believe
that workplace relations has the potential to inhibit completion of training contracts. News about
such conditions may also permeate to the wider community and also act to dampen enthusiasm
for entering the trades.

Wages
Apprentices and trainees in the mining industry generally have access to higher average wages
and associated site allowances than is the case in other sectors. In addition, employers did not
highlight the cost of wages as a to their taking on apprentices and trainees.

While employers in other sectors may rue the cost of employing apprentices, low wages is clearly
a barrier for candidates taking up apprenticeships in other industries. Several studies (Ainley et al,
2005; Callan, 2001; Callan, 2000; Grey et al, 1999) note that low wages is a key reason given by
apprentices and trainees for non-completion of training. Indeed, this view is corroborated by
employers (Strachan Research, 2005; Webster et al, 2000). The Strachan Research study finds that
24.6% of employers believe that young people are deterred from apprenticeships by low wages; a
common thread in both earlier and current research.

Regulatory issues
While regulatory issues appear to impact the quality of training outcomes for apprentices and
trainees, administration requirements appear to be a disincentive for employers in the mining
industry and other sectors. Both an earlier (Schofield, 1999) and current report (Strachan
Research, 2005) remark on the complexity of the paperwork. Schofield (1999) notes, not only the
inefficiencies of duplicated effort, but the impact on timeliness of processing Training
Agreements, the accuracy and inconsistency of information between parties and the lack of
knowledge and understanding about Training Plans. Time-consuming paperwork and
administration process difficulties is a key disincentive for employers (Strachan Research, 2005).
In this report, employers note simplification of the administration of apprenticeships as
important for encouraging the employment of apprentices.

Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) issues
RPL is an important mechanism for reducing training time for apprentices and trainees with
relevant experience and expertise in all industries. Recognition for the majority of licenses is
common throughout the mining industry. However although prior achievement is recognised in
the formal sense, it is customary for mining companies to re-test the competence of new recruits
to ensure that they are able to operate company-specific equipment, machinery and transport
vehicles. It is also necessary for mining companies to ensure that that new employees understand
company-specific road rules and mine-site procedures and process. Employers also report that


73                 Addressing barriers to the employment and training of traditional trades apprentices and trainees
                                                                                             in the minerals industry
training to the business needs of the company is essential in terms of implementing occupational
health and safety standards.

 Barriers to the take-up of RPL are articulated by Bateman and Knight (2003) and Bowman et al
(2003) – a key one being administrative (labour intensive, time-consuming and costly because of
the process for RPL). The assessment process of RPL is also criticised, including the rigour of
quality assurance strategies and practices, and the attitude or level of understanding of RPL
across training organisations.


II. Disincentives for employer and employees in the mining
sector
There are disincentives for employers and employees to participate in the
apprenticeship/traineeship program.


Employers
The key disincentives for employers appear to be costs, wages, administration-system issues, the
calibre and maturity of candidates, and training issues.

High costs
The cost associated with the training of apprentices and trainees is of concern to employers in
the mining sector as it is to employers in other industries. However, a number of mining
employers and contractors providing services to the mining sector, are beginning to invest in the
training of apprentices and trainees to ensure that they have a pool of qualified tradespeople for
the future, and are not reliant on others providing the training.

 Business is concerned with cost and the cost of employment, wages and administering the
Training Contract are noted as issues of concern. The recent survey of employers in the building
and construction industry, undertaken by Strachan Research (2005), provides specific examples
of cost concerns – such as high wages in comparison with an apprentice‘s productivity (especially
in the first two years), the need for a fully qualified tradesperson to be present all the time and the
associated costs, the higher rate of workers compensation and public liability insurance for
apprenticeships, and the high transaction costs of the paperwork and administrative requirements
of a time consuming and difficult administrative process. That there is a need to streamline and
simplify administrative arrangements was also noted by the Apprenticeship and Traineeship
Taskforce in Western Australia (2003).

Employers‘ perceptions of the apprenticeship system as difficult and adding complexity to
administration requirements is well noted in the literature reviewed. In addition, market
fluctuations have an impact on a firm‘s need for apprentices and capacity to support the costs of
employment and training. The Strachan Research study notes that to encourage the take-up of
apprentices, employers suggest reducing employment costs by increasing the government subsidy
and government support for the insurance costs of employing apprentices, reducing the burden
of terms of employment on employers (a view supported in the study conducted by Callan,
2001), fast-tracking apprenticeships to 3 years, and simplifying administrative process together
with reducing the amount of required paperwork.

The report of the Apprenticeship and Traineeship Taskforce in Western Australia (2003) also
noted that employers were concerned that early departures of apprentices (especially during third


74                 Addressing barriers to the employment and training of traditional trades apprentices and trainees
                                                                                             in the minerals industry
and fourth years) for other companies prepared to pay higher wages meant that that they were
unable to get adequate returns on their investment in training. The report concluded that this
‗lack of protection for employers is making them increasingly wary about taking on future
apprentices and trainees.

Relevance and quality of training
Employers in the mining industry are concerned about the relevance, quality and consistency of
training for their particular business needs. To this end some have increased their involvement in
employment and training of apprentices and trainees. One company has established training
plans to customise trade training to their particular needs. For example, Xstrata has collaborated
with TAFE to develop a specific Xstrata program for mechanical tradespersons.

The literature indicates that not having input to training content is a disincentive for employers.
Industry wants training that is more relevant to industry needs and a global market, and
individual firms want input to off-the-job training content to ensure the training is relevant and
specific to the needs of their business. In addition, firms want more flexibility in the delivery of
training so that the running of business can also be accommodated. There is also evidence of
support for fast-track apprenticeships or reduced training time (Strachan Research, 2005).

Maturity and calibre of candidates
The maturity and calibre of candidates is a concern for employers and especially for the mining
industry. Employers in the mining industry noted that maturity was especially important in view
of the fact that apprentices and trainees would often need to work in remote areas, and with large
and heavy machinery and equipment. That there was also a need for apprentices to be of licence
age was highlighted by one employer who indicated that his company required people to have a
licence so that they could drive on the site. However, another employer was of the opinion that
promotion of the trades should be made to students at earlier age groups so that year 10 students
who wanted to work with their hands could establish a pathway to apprenticeships.

The calibre of candidates has also been found to be a significant factor relating to engagement of
apprentices in a number of studies (Toner 2005, Strachan Research, 2005; Toner et al, 2001;
Schofield, 1999). Employers report disappointment with the quality of candidates (eg. poor work
ethic, attitude, calibre) and this is a disincentive for taking on apprentices. However, Toner (2005
also notes that in 2005 there is some evidence that the quality of applicants has risen, due to
publicity about skill shortages, rise in apprentice vacancies and rising income of tradespersons.
Group training companies have also improved their marketing and recruitment and selection
processes. Several studies (Cully and Curtain, 2001; Toner et al, 2001; Callan, 2000; Grey et al,
1999) call for the establishment of a pre-engagement assessment formality as an enabler for the
engagement of apprentices and trainees.


Employees
There are also key disincentives for apprentices and trainees to participate in the training system.
Key disincentives for apprentices and trainees in the mining industry are location and lifestyle.
However important disincentives for apprentices and trainees in general appear to be, work
environment and work relationships, wages, training quality, information and support, and career
interest in the work itself.




75                 Addressing barriers to the employment and training of traditional trades apprentices and trainees
                                                                                             in the minerals industry
Location and lifestyle issues
Keeping in mind that mines tend to be located in remote and rural locations, the major
disincentives for apprenticeship and traineeship uptake (indeed for many tradespersons,
apprentices and other workers) in the mining industry are location and lifestyle issues
(NCVER/NILS 2005). Mining companies have developed different arrangements to attract
workers to their mines. These include ‗fly-in, fly-out ‗ or ‗drive in, drive out‘ arrangements and
various configurations of shift roster rotations (that is, ‗on‘ and ‗off‘ working schedules). These
conditions (with associated financial allowances) enable workers to live in metropolitan areas or
other areas of their choice for their ‗off‘ days and live in company camps or housing for the ‗on‘
days. One employer was of the view that comfortable camp accommodation, attractive facilities,
good food and working conditions were essential if mining sector employers wanted to attract
workers (including apprentices and trainees) to their mining companies. Remoteness and distance
from family and friends requires considerable adjustment even if the conditions at the mine are
comfortable and the future in terms of high wages looks good. The need to leave home is one of
the major things that tend to dissuade potential applicants from going on with their application.
This is despite the lure of higher wages. Nevertheless there are those who are prepared to do the
apprenticeship and once qualified look for jobs in the metropolitan areas. There is also a view
that young people may not be attracted to working in the mines because there are a lot of rules
that govern daily procedures and safety requirements. The need to submit to screening for
substance abuse may also decrease the attractiveness of working in the sector. The type of work
that is required may also act as a disincentive.

Lack of information and support
The lack of provision of adequate information and advice to make decisions about entering
apprenticeships and traineeships has often been quoted as a key reason for lack of interest in
apprenticeship and traineeship uptake across traditional trades. However, employers in the
mining sector have established local networks with high schools to promote apprenticeship and
traineeship pathways. These have been successful and have resulted in companies receiving a
substantially higher number of applications than are required for available vacancies.

The lack of adequate information and advice for making decisions to take up apprenticeships and
traineeships, inadequate prior information about the job and working conditions, and lack of
ongoing support and feedback are reported in the literature as key factors related to training non-
completion. A host of studies call for the giving of better advice to apprentices prior to beginning
their training and establishing supportive networks for the apprentice/trainees, seeing these steps
as enabling training completions.

Another disincentive was perceived to be the image of mining, especially underground mining, as
a ‗dirty job where you spend all day down a hole‘. Living with or being near to significant others
(like a father, uncle or brother) who was engaged in such activities helped to dispel some of the
myths that surrounded the industry.

Wages
Low wages, although affirmed by some employer respondents, as being another common reason
given by apprentices and trainees for not entering training and or not completing training, are not
viewed as major issues for apprentices and trainees in the mining sector, who as a rule receive
higher wages than in other industries. Other related reasons given by apprentices and trainees for
non-completion of their contracts include being offered a job with better pay and being treated
like ‗cheap labour‘.



76                 Addressing barriers to the employment and training of traditional trades apprentices and trainees
                                                                                             in the minerals industry
That young apprentices in traditional industries are paid inadequate wages when compared to
other young workers has also been highlighted by the president of the ACTU (Burrow 2004). She
noted that an 18 year-old apprentice starting an apprenticeship in manufacturing is paid $100 a
week less than a trainee working in fast-food restaurant.

Training quality
The poor quality of training received is another notable factor given by apprentices and trainees
for not completing their training. This includes training given by training providers (poor quality
trainers and training providers not understanding their training needs) and poor quality on-the-
job training (poor training skills of supervisor/boss) (Callan, 2000; Schofield, 1999, 2000).
Further reasons include receiving irrelevant training, or very little training, or no training at all
(Cully and Curtain, 2001; Harris et al, 2001; Callan, 2000; Cully et al, 2000; Grey et al, 1999;
Schofield, 1999).

Interest in work or career path
Earlier and recent studies (Ainley and Corrigan, 2005; Cully and Curtain, 2001; Toner et al, 2001;
Webster et al, 2000; Grey et al, 1999) report dislike of the work and lack of career paths as
reasons given by apprentices and trainees for not completing their training. In this light, the
recommendation for good advice and information for candidates making career decisions, prior
to the commencement of apprenticeship/traineeship training, can be a strategy to enable the
retention of apprentices/trainees and training completion.




77                 Addressing barriers to the employment and training of traditional trades apprentices and trainees
                                                                                             in the minerals industry
Summary
In Table 20 we summarise the perceived barriers to employment and training of apprentices and
trainees for mining and other industry sectors. We also provide a rating of the level of impact
associated with such perceived barriers for the mining and other industries. Such ratings however
are subjective evaluations of the information provided by respondents.

Table 20: Perceived barriers to employment and training of apprentices and trainees for mining and
other industry sectors

                                                                      Perceived level of impact on
                                                                      employment of apprentices and
                                                                      trainees
                                                                      Mining industry         Other industries
Employers         Industrial relations issues (awards)                Not very high           High
                  Costs of training                                   Medium                  Medium
                  Regulatory and licensing issues                     High                    High
                  Administrative requirements                         High                    High
                  Lack of understanding of roles and                  High                    High
                  responsibilities
                  Legislative issues                                  Not high                Not high
                  Recognition of prior learning issues                High                    High
                  Relevance and quality of training                   High                    High
                  Calibre and maturity of students                    High                    High


Apprentices and   Low aspirations for apprenticeships and             Very high               Very high
trainees          traineeships
                  Industrial Relations issues (awards)                Not very high           High
                  Wages                                               Not very high           Very High
                  Inadequate information and support                  High                    High
                  Working conditions                                  Very high               Very high
                  Location                                            Very high               Not high
                  Lifestyle                                           Very high               Very high
                  Quality of training                                 High                    High




III. Barriers to ‗fast-tracked‘ apprenticeships in the mining
sector
The major barriers to the implementation of ‗fast-tracked‘ apprenticeship identified in this
current study (through interviews with employer and employee stakeholders in the mining
industry, and occupations associated with trades of interest in the mining industry) have been
associated with reluctance of unions and employer organisations to compromise the quality of
training and skills by reducing the existing nominal duration (to any significant extent) of
apprenticeships for new entrants. This reluctance does not apply to the ‗fast-tracking‘ or
acceleration of the off-the-job training component, or to the early sign off already available in
most states and territories. It also does not apply to the implementation of RPL strategies to
enable existing workers with specific industry experience to complete their apprenticeships in
shorter time frames.



78                 Addressing barriers to the employment and training of traditional trades apprentices and trainees
                                                                                             in the minerals industry
Concerns about standards
The major IR issues associated with fast-tracking identified by the mining sector and other
industries concern the perceived reduction of the skills of tradespersons and the skill base of the
industry. In some industries such concerns apply as much to tradespersons as to their employers.
Employers in the mining industry are especially concerned that training quality and safety
standards will be sacrificed for expediency if ‗fast-tracking‘ becomes the norm, especially for
young apprentices and trainees.

In the main there is reluctance from employer and employee organisations in the electrical and
plumbing sectors to implement ‗fast-tracking‘ because of the Occupational Health and Safety
issues associated with operating in these trades. Lack of sufficient theoretical knowledge
associated with the trade and practical skill and experience can place apprentices and
tradespersons and their clients in situations of major danger. This would apply to electricians who
are working on a mine site as much as to electricians working in domestic or commercial
installations. One of the IR issues that affects trainees and apprentices on mine sites also applies
to occupational health and safety issues. For this reason employers must ensure that crews that
are involved in installation, maintenance, repair and operation of equipment are not comprised of
a disproportionate number of trainees or apprentices in comparison with fully qualified
tradespeople.

The reluctance to reduce the nominal duration of apprenticeships in the licensed trades
(especially the building, electrical and plumbing trades) is based on the fundamental reason
underpinning the need for licensing. This relates to the responsibility for doing a job properly
and safely. In addition, there are compliance requirements which if not met satisfactorily can lead
to tradespersons having their licenses revoked by the licensing board.

Although employers and unions continue to highlight the need to safeguard safety standards,
significant efforts have been applied to improving equipment, processes, information and
training available to workers in the mining industry. The Minerals Council of Australia (2004)
report that over the last 10 years the number of Lost Time Injuries (that is the number of injuries
that result in the loss of a minimum of one full-time shift absence) has decreased by 70% from
5128 to 1520. During the 2003-2004 period it decreased by 8%. The Lost Time to Injury
Frequency Rate (LTIFR) which is defined as the number of lost time injuries per million hours
worked, has also decreased consistently over the period. Where it stood at 25 for 1994-1995
period, in 2003-2004 it had decreased to seven.

Objections to skill fragmentation or compartmentalisation
In a number of industries (especially construction, manufacturing, engineering, and electrical
industries) there is a concern (especially among employee organisations) that the fast-tracking
agenda associated with the shortening of training contracts may mean a move towards the
fragmentation of qualifications rather than the preservation of full Certificate III or IV trade
outcome qualifications (which cover the all competencies required of a fully qualified
tradesperson). Mining sector employers also object to such arrangements for the long term
because these could lead to long-term decreases in quality standards of skills available to
individuals and to the industry as a whole.

Where qualifications or skills sets are fragmented or compartmentalised apprentices would only
be trained for specific competencies rather than broad range of skills required of highly skilled
tradespersons. Under such a system apprentice carpenters might only be trained in hanging doors
because at the time of their apprenticeship their employer was responsible for providing such
services on building projects and sites. Apprentice electricians might only be trained in
terminating switchboards or in installing first and second fixes because that was required by their


79                 Addressing barriers to the employment and training of traditional trades apprentices and trainees
                                                                                             in the minerals industry
employers at the time. An apprentice boilermaker may only be trained in tasks that are done on
worksites rather than on tasks that are done in the workshop setting. If the broad-based
occupational training approach, traditionally a hallmark of the Australian system is removed, then
there is a danger that worksites will not have access to highly skilled tradespersons. Instead they
will have to cope with issues created by having a lot of semi-skilled workers on worksites. Both
employer and employee stakeholders interviewed for this study are of the view that adopting a
low skills approach to training (often identified with skill segmentation or fragmentation of
qualifications) will actually undermine the standard of skills that are available to specific
occupations and to the nation.

‗Fast-tracking‘ may mean introducing segmentation of skill sets so that training may only
concentrate on those skills that are required to complete current projects. This means that those
occupational skills that are less frequently used do not get appropriate attention. Employer
stakeholders are of the opinion that such an approach (although convenient in the short-term)
may in fact have negative long-term repercussions. It could lead to the deterioration or extinction
of these less frequently used skill sets and industry would experience major shortages when such
skills were required in the future (this scenario has been experienced in the building renovation
sector where important skills like stone masonry have declined). There is also a more immediate
need for preserving the broad-based approach to trade training, and that relates to the existence
on worksites of old machinery and equipment that requires maintenance and repair.

Concerns about quality skill development
Employers and employee stakeholders are both concerned that the fragmentation of
qualifications and the segmentation of skill sets will lead to the reduced quality of skill
development. Fast-tracking, if it is associated with a dilution of skill sets is viewed with concern
especially for the licensed trades (such as electrician and plumbing). This is because both groups
do not want to jeopardise the occupational health and safety of workers. Employers do not want
to be restricted in their ability to hire one tradesperson who is able to apply the full set of trade
skills that may be required on site.

When individuals are only trained in specific skill sets and not in the suite of skills traditionally
associated with a skilled occupation, they may also experience particular problems as newly
qualified tradespersons on the worksite. Firstly they will not have had sufficient time to
accumulate context-specific experience that will help them to operate quickly and effectively
when they are faced with unusual situations in the workplace. This will have an impact on how
employers and co-workers appraise their performance as a tradesperson. Secondly, they may not
easily move between employers if they have only been trained in one specific skill set that may
not required by the new employer. This becomes a special issue when the industry or the
economy is in downturn.

Apprentices noted the heavy workloads that would be associated with condensing training into a
shorter time frame. There are also concerns by trainers and apprentices that it would be difficult
to shorten the apprentice and still cover all that a beginning tradesman needed to know.

Lack of confidence in the consistency of training
Employers contacted for this study were also concerned about what they perceived to be a lack
of consistency in the standard of training across RTOs. They believed that this would affect the
extent to which qualifications are transportable in the practical sense across sites and
jurisdictions. Information from the NCVER survey of employer use and views (SEUV) indicates
that just 49% of employers in the mining industry were satisfied with the quality of the training
being provided to their apprentices and trainees by formal training providers.


80                 Addressing barriers to the employment and training of traditional trades apprentices and trainees
                                                                                             in the minerals industry
There is also a concern among employers that RTO reticence to offer RPL for skills already
acquired may also be a barrier to apprenticeship and traineeship uptake.

Concerns for learners who require additional support
There are also concerns for learners who may require additional support to complete their
programs. Reducing existing durations may not be in the best interests of such learners. Indeed in
some mining companies durations have been extended to enable these learners to achieve their
qualifications and trade certificates.

There are also concerns for mining companies in very remote areas to ensure that their
apprentices and trainees get enough time on the job gaining experience and practical skill. The
arrangement of rosters, and the need for apprentices and trainees to spend time away from the
site in block training in metropolitan RTOs means that the actual amount of continuous time on
the job gaining experience is reduced. If contracts are shortened then such companies will find it
even more difficult to make sure that their apprentices and trainees get enough on-the-job
exposure.

Lack of jurisdictional uniformity
Another major barrier to the implementation of fast-track apprenticeships especially those
associated with the reduction of nominal time durations is felt to be the lack of uniformity across
states and territories of awards and regulatory frameworks for licensing. Where fast-track
apprenticeships are accepted in one jurisdiction and are not a feature of the same occupation in
another jurisdiction, then these discrepancies will lead to parity of esteem issues for qualifications
acquired through fast-track arrangements. The UCQ notes that such arrangements will reduce
the portability of qualifications and licences and reduce the esteem with which the fast-track trade
qualification is held in other states. Already it is clear that the uptake of part-time and school-
based apprenticeships and traineeships is limited according to the type of award provisions
available in different occupations and different jurisdictions.

Lack of jurisdictional uniformity also affects the extent to which trade recognition in industry is a
major part of the employment landscape. There are examples of in some jurisdictions where
trade recognition is not a major or important criteria for employment. Here the perceived ability
to do a job, rather than the history or presentation of formal trade qualifications, is rated more
important.

Restrictions in some awards
Barriers in terms of award restrictions have minimal impact in the mining industry. However in
states where 18 year-olds are not permitted underground or where the costs of apprentice wages
are not included in service contracts may create some restriction. Some companies have
addressed the age restrictions by re-arranging the location of training so that training before the
ages of 18 years can take place in above-ground sites or venues. This option is not available to
companies who have all or most of their work occurring below ground. The issue of who pays
for apprentice training when apprentice costs are not included in a service contract has yet to be
addressed.

 The lack of appropriate award conditions in some industries and states may impact on the
uptake of different forms of apprenticeships including school-based new apprenticeships. In
2004 the Australian Industrial Relations Commission (AIRC) varied the conditions of the
National Building and Construction Industry Award 2000 to enable the uptake of school-based
new apprenticeships in the building and construction industry. Prior to this time there was
reluctance in many sectors of that industry to employ these SBNAs.

81                 Addressing barriers to the employment and training of traditional trades apprentices and trainees
                                                                                             in the minerals industry
Concerns about remuneration (for non-mining sectors)
Apprentices in the mining industry are well paid in comparison with their counterparts in other
industries. However, keeping in mind that traditionally the mining sector tends to recruit already
qualified tradespeople from other sectors, the barriers to apprenticeship training in these sectors
will also be important. For example, if employers in other sectors are not prepared to pay a
competitive wage for apprentices young people may not choose to move into a traditional trade
in any sector. This applies to whether or not the traditional approach to trade training or the fast
track approach are implemented. This is also exacerbated for employers in remote locations
where mines are located.

Apprentices in the mining industry receive better wages than apprentices in other sectors.
Nevertheless there is also a view that if it were possible for apprentices to earn similar money
without having to work underground, then an apprenticeship in the underground mining sector
would not be an occupation of choice for some apprentices. The added benefits, in terms of
higher wages, also did not counteract the disadvantages of living in ‗ordinary accommodation‘
away from family, girlfriends and friends. It might only be a short-term option.

In addition, the relative wages earned by a young person in the fast-food or retail industries are
often perceived to far outstrip the wage rates available to beginning apprentices in non-mining
sectors. These relativities impact heavily on the decision to enter apprenticeships for students and
their parents. They should be addressed.

About a quarter of employers responding to the ACCI survey of apprentice wages reported
finding it difficult to recruit apprentices, with those in large organisations and those in regional
areas experiencing less difficulties. Over half of the employers experiencing difficulties also
reported paying above the award rates. Over half of those employers that did not experience
difficulties also reported paying above the award wages. However, those occupations paying
above award wages (electrical occupations) were less likely to experience difficulties (13%) than
those less likely to pay above the award wages – for example, building and construction (20%)
metals and engineering (33%) and automotive, retail and repair (37%).




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IV. Summary
In table 21 we summarise the major barriers to the concept of ‗fast-tracking‘ within the mining
industry and other sectors as perceived by employer and employee stakeholders.

Table 21: Employer and employee stakeholder perceived barriers to fast-tracking apprenticeships and
traineeships in the mining industry and other sectors

                                                               Employer stakeholders          Employee stakeholders
                                                               Mining            Other        Mining    Other
Concerns about safety issues                                   X                 X            X         X
Objections to fragmentation and compartmentalisation           X*                X*           X         X
of qualifications and skill sets
Concerns about quality skill development                       X                 X*           X         X
Inconsistent training standards                                X                 X            X         X
Lack of jurisdictional uniformity                              X                 X            X         X
IR issues                                                      X**               X            X**       X
Low remuneration for apprentices in other sectors                                X                      X
Lack of RTO uptake of RPL                                      X                 X
Notes: X = true for majority of employers, X* = Opinion is divided X** = only in some jurisdictions




83                      Addressing barriers to the employment and training of traditional trades apprentices and trainees
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                                                     Pay and conditions
In this section we report on the industrial relations and perceived and actual IR barriers to ‗fast-
tracked‘ apprenticeships in mining sector and other industries. In addition to information from
published and unpublished reports, we also report on the views as expressed by representatives
of employer and employee organisations including those from the mining sector.


I. Federal and state awards
Industrial Relations (IR) is the umbrella term generally used to cover issues regarding terms and
conditions of employment. IR arrangements in Australia are generally based on State and or
federal awards and Australian Workplace Agreements. Where IR arrangements are award free
there are legally binding minimum conditions of employment. Awards establish the minimum
rates of pay and employment conditions for specific employees. Federal awards are administered
under Australian Industrial Relations Commission, while State awards are administered by State
tribunals. Further details about the Australian IR system is provided in Appendix E.

IR issues that especially apply to young people (apart from those engaged in apprenticeships and
traineeships) relate to the ability for employers to employ young people and apply junior rates of
pay without being subject to the age-discrimination laws.

Award provision for apprentices and trainees across jurisdictions
State legislation and award provisions concerning the employment and training of apprentices
and trainees will also have an impact on the types of programs that are possible. A draft report
outlining these award arrangements was produced for the Australian National Training Authority
(ANTA 2005) for discussion and amendment with Department of Education, Science and
Training (DEST) and Department of Employment and Workplace Relations (DEWR). This
preliminary draft has been used here to identify award arrangements or lack of these for different
types of apprenticeships and traineeships across jurisdictions. Where federal awards in industries
like construction, automotive metal and engineering, and hospitality have wage provisions for
full-time and school-based apprenticeships these provisions are often lacking in many state-based
awards.
In table 22 we identify major legislation and award provisions associated with apprenticeships
and traineeships.




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Table 22: Major legislation and award provisions for apprenticeships and traineeships by state and
territory

F      Legislation and award provision
NSW    Main Legislation: The Apprenticeship and Traineeship Act 2001
       Awards: State and federal awards and agreements
       Part-time provision: There are part-time traineeships only. There is no industry support for part-time
       apprenticeships.
       School-based provision: Part-time traineeships available in a wide range of vocations, including electro-
       technology, engineering, automotive, hospitality, clerical, retail, landscape gardening, horticulture and
       sport and leisure industries – see http://apprenticeship.det.nsw.edu.au/html/schavatrains.htm. Current
       negotiations with industry are underway to establish school based part-time apprenticeships.
       Award provision for AQF IV –VI qualifications Not available
VIC    Main Legislation: The Victorian Vocational Education and Training Act 1990 for traineeships
       Awards: Federal awards
       Part-time provision: Part-time traineeships and traineeships are available in all training packages
       implemented in Victoria
       School-based provision: Part-time apprenticeships and traineeships available in all training packages
       implemented in Victoria.
       Award provision for AQF IV–VI qualifications: Not available
QLD    Main Legislation: The Vocational Education and Training Act 2000 and The Queensland Industrial
       Relations Act 1999
       Awards: State and Federal awards. (Main industrial instrument is the Order – Apprentice’s and
       Trainee’s Wages and Conditions [excluding certain Queensland Government entities]) 2003 Industrial
       Order
       Part-time provision: There are award provisions for part-time apprenticeships and traineeships in the
       same areas as there are for full-time apprentices and trainees.
       School-based provision: In all areas as full-time apprenticeships and traineeships. No award provisions
       for school-based apprenticeships and traineeships in the Electricity Supply Industry –generation and
       the gas industry (utilities).
       Award provision for AQF IV–VI qualifications: Only for general construction, metal and engineering and
       hospitality industries.
WA     Main Legislation: Vocational Education and Training Act 1996, The Industrial Training Act 1975, the
       Vocational Education and Training Act 1975, The Minimum Conditions of Employment (MCE) Act 1993,
       the Labour Relations Reform Act 2002
       Awards: State and federal awards, common rule principle for state awards
       Part-time provision: Part-time traineeships only in three training packages
       School-based provision: Current order of MCE Act provides for school-based part-time traineeships
       only
       Award provision for AQF IV–VI qualifications: AQF IV trainees only
SA     Main Legislation: The South Australian Training and Skills Development Act 2003
       Awards: State and federal awards
       Part-time provision: Apprenticeships and traineeships
       School-based provision: A number of state awards require variation to enable greater uptake of school-
       based arrangements.
       Award provision for AQF IV–VI qualifications: Not available
TAS    Main Legislation: Vocational Education and Training Act 1994
       Awards: State and federal awards
       Part-time provision: Availability of part-time apprenticeships and traineeships varies between industries
       and qualifications. Majority apprenticeships not available part-time, majority of traineeships available
       part-time
       School-based provision: School-based traineeships apply to most State Awards under the National
       Training Wage (Tasmanian Private Sector Award). This does not apply to traditional apprentices and
       there are no provisions in State awards for school-based traditional apprentices..
       Award provision for AQF IV–VI qualifications: Cert IV for trainees only
ACT    Main Legislation: Vocational Education and Training Act 2003
       Awards: Federal awards
       Part-time provision: Part-time apprenticeships are available whre there are specific award conditions.
       Part-time traineeships are available in all the training packages delivered in the ACT


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       School-based provision: Traineeships in community services, automotive industry retail, service and
       repair general construction, business, electro-technology (data communication), fitness, floristry, food-
       processing, hairdressing, horticulture, hospitality, information technology, library, multimedia, music,
       community pharmacy, retail operations, spatial information systems, sport and recreation, and tourism.
       Award provision for AQF IV–VI qualifications: Certificate IV traineeships


NT     Main Legislation: The Northern Territory Employment and Training Act, 2004
       Awards: Federal and state awards
       Part-time provision: Apprenticeships (6 training packages) traineeships (23 training packages. No
       provisions for part-time apprenticeships or traineeships in: aviation; electricity supply industry - general
       (utilities); transport and distribution; plumbing and service; and civil construction
       School-based provision: Apprenticeships in 4 training packages and traineeships in 24 training
       packages. There are no award provisions for any school-based arrangements in: aviation; civil
       construction; electricity supply industry – generation and transmission and distribution; general
       construction; metal and engineering; and plumbing and services. There are such arrangements for
       traineeships in: retail; business services; automotive industry retail, service and repair, and community
       services.
       Award provision for AQF IV–VI: Traineeships only in the: gas industry (utilities); aero-skills; automotive
       industry manufacturing; automotive industry retail, service and repair; and plumbing and service
       industries.




II. Australian Workplace Agreements
Australian Workplace Agreements are administered by the Employment Advocate. Victoria, the
Australian Capital Territory and the Northern Territory are covered by the federal system
(Australian Government Wagenet Website 2005). According to the Australian Chamber of
Commerce and Industry (ACCI 2005) there are currently 1500 different awards operating across
the nation.

An employee‘s wages and conditions can also be negotiated under an Australian Workplace
Agreement (AWA), where an employer and employee (or bargaining agent, generally a union in
the case of employees) negotiate and approve an agreement about wages and conditions. This
agreement is then lodged and approved by the Employment Advocate. The Mining Council of
Australia reports that about 50% of the workforce in the mining industry is employed under
AWAs. Further details of the nature and coverage of AWAs is provided in appendix D.

AWAs for apprentices and trainees
The Office of the Employment Advocate (OEA) is an agency within the Department of
Employment and Workplace Relations. It has been established to file and approve Australian
Workplace Agreements (AWAs) and to make sure that they meet statutory requirements.
Another major role is to assist and advise employers and employees (especially those who may be
disadvantaged in bargaining) to implement and understand the Workplace Relations Act 1996,
AWAs and freedom of association and to investigate any breaches of the law. It has also been set
up to investigate issues associated with the implementation of the Act including coercion in
development of agreements, entry rights to the workplace and strike pay.

The OEA also keeps records of the number of AWA agreements that have been approved (see
Table 23). A measure of the coverage of AWAs in terms of apprentices and trainees is an
estimate of all the currently approved AWAS. This estimate is arrived at by using the number of
AWAs approved over the last 3 years.




86                  Addressing barriers to the employment and training of traditional trades apprentices and trainees
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Table 23: Total AWAs approved for apprentice/trainees in the last 3 years (Nov 2002 - Oct 2005).

Year                                          No.                         % of all AWAs approved
November 2002 - October 2003                  5,947                       5
November 2003 - October 2004                  8,312                       5
November 2004 - October 2005                  10,416                      5
Total                                        24,675                       5
Source: Office of the Employment Advocate, unpublished statistics

Total number of AWAs approved for apprentice/trainees in the last 3 years (Nov 2002 - Oct
2005) by age. OEA data can also be used to investigate the number of AWAs that have been
approved for apprentices and trainees under and over the ages of 21years (see table 24)

Table 24: Number of AWAs for apprentices and trainees by age

Year                No. of           % of all          No. of        %                Total no.      Total %
                    AWAs             AWAs for          AWAs                           Approved
                    Approved         apprentices       Approved
                    for under 21     and trainees      for those
                    year-olds                          aged 21
                                                       years and
                                                       over+

November 2002
- October 2003
                    2,110            36                3,837         65               5,947          100.0
November 2003
- October 2004
                    2,076            25.0              6,236         75.0             8,312          100.0
November 2004
- October 2005      4,023            39                6,393         61.4             10,416         100.0
Total                8,209          33               16,466          67               24,675         100.0
Source: Office of the Employment Advocate, unpublished data




III. Rates of pay for workers in the mining industry
Workers in the mining industry are paid on average more than other industries. In May 2004 the
Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) released its summary of findings on employee earnings and
hours (ABS 2005). It reported that the highest average weekly earnings ($1534.00.80) was earned
by employees in the mining industry. The mining industry also recorded the highest average
weekly hours paid to full-time adults in non-managerial jobs (45.3 hours) and the highest average
hourly wages for these ($33.70). In contrast the government administration and defence and
education sectors recorded the lowest average weekly hours paid to employees (37.6 hours). The
lowest hourly rate was paid to workers in accommodation, cafes and restaurants ($17.50) closely
followed by workers in retail industries.

Apprentices and trainees
In the main the pay of apprentices in the mining and other industries are based on existing
industrial awards or AWA agreements which reflect these awards, and satisfy a ‗no disadvantage
test‘. Rates of pay for traineeships are governed by the National Training Wage award, a state
training wage award (generally based on the national award) or in federal or state industry awards.
Minimum rates of pay for all workers are governed by federal or state awards, AWA
arrangements, or enterprise agreements. In some states there are default pay rates for those


87                     Addressing barriers to the employment and training of traditional trades apprentices and trainees
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working in fields which are award free. Typically apprentices are paid according to a sliding scale
which reflects the proportion of the contract already completed. This means that the wage of
apprentices will approximate the rate for fully qualified tradespersons during their fourth years.

Apprentices and trainees in the mining industry generally receive higher levels of pay than
apprentices in other industries. Mining industry employers interviewed for this study report that
in the main apprentices in their first year receive about 40% of a full tradesman‘s pay. If this
calculated as the on-site rate for tradespersons (with all associated allowances) then this is
substantially above the award rates for apprentices not working in the mining industry.
A survey conducted in 2005 by the Chamber of Mineral and Energy (CME), and information
provided by employers for this study, indicates that the types of wages that apprentices and
trainees in the mining industry are receiving in 2005 are substantially above the base rates of
apprentices and trainees in other industries. In table 25 we report preliminary findings of the
wage costs for apprentices and trainees provided by employers in the mining industry who
responded to the CME survey.

Table 25: Average and total apprentice and trainee wage costs for employers in the mineral industry

Company                Average annual wages across all year           Total annual wage costs to company
                       levels                                         for all apprentices and trainees(where
                                                                      available)
                       Apprentices            Trainees                Apprentices            Trainees
Company A              $34 615                $29,486
                                              (range $50K to
                                              $12K )
Company B              $28,910.44 *           $24,250
                                                                      $925,134
                                                                                             $861,036.80

Company C
                                              $51,000 base plus
                                              10% SA
Company D              $28,000 plus site
                       costs = $56,000                                                       n/a

Company E              $40,000                $66000                  $1,400,000             $924,000
Company F              $29,461                $22,962
Company G              $55,000
Company H              $29,300                $37,000
Company I               Gas Plant
                        Apprentices =
                        $31,500
                                                                        $270,000
                        Offshore
                        apprentices =
                        $51,000
Company J               $33,700 base plus       $37,500 + $18,000
                        40% HBF& leave          shift allowance         $1,617,600           $2,497,500
                        loading l
*(1st year = $27,800, 2nd year = $32,220, 3rd year = $41,060, 4th year =$45,480)

The differences between the wages of apprentices and trainees working in the mining sector and
those working in similar occupations else can be demonstrated by examining the average wage
rates described in table 24 with the base award rates for those working under state awards like the
New South Wales state award. Take for example, the base wages for first year apprentices and
trainees working under the NSW state award for electricians, metal engineering and associated
industries, building and construction, and civil engineering (that is, construction carpenters).
These indicate that apprentice electrician under the NSW state award will receive a base rate of
$10870.6 per annum in the first year of the apprenticeship. A trainee working under the same
award will receive $12 526.8 per annum. A first year apprentice in the engineering trades will
receive an annual wage of $12625.6, and $21 112.0 if he/she is an adult apprentice. A trainee in
the same trade will receive $16 536.0 per annum. A first year apprentice in the building and


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construction industry will receive $12 012 per annum, or $18584 if an adult apprentice, while a
first year trainee will receive $13 306.8 per annum or $18 652. 4 if an adult trainee. A first year
apprentice working under the civil engineering award for construction carpenters will receive $14
341.6 and $18 735.6 if an adult apprentice. A first year trainee will receive $19 947.2 and $20155.2
if an adult apprentice. The first year wage of an apprentice or trainee in the mining industry is
much higher than all these rates. In Appendix F we provide details about the weekly full-time
wages of apprentices working under the New South State awards for these different occupations.

In each of these NSW state awards apprentices and trainees are eligible for variety of allowances
peculiar to their particular work. For example, apprentices and trainees working under the
electricians award (code 283) are provided with allowances for being engaged in construction
work, and for working in specific work-related conditions (for example, in environments where
dust blows in the wind). However, the allowances allowed for apprentices working in the mining
industry are more substantial.

Pay and conditions for overseas workers
The government, advised by the Department of Employment and Workplace Relations(DEWR)
has also in place minimum salary levels for overseas workers to guard against their financial
exploitation (DIMIA 2006). The current level stands at $39 100 and $50 775 for Information
Technology (IT) professionals. However, this does not apply to regional sub-visa 457
applications. In these cases regional certifying bodies (RCBs) must certify whether the nominated
levels of salary level are in accordance with the appropriate award and reflects the wage rates for
available for occupations in their respective areas.

Employers must be willing to meet their sponsorship obligations including meeting the cost of
the return travel for an employee and accompanying family members.


IV. Survey of apprentice wages
In October 2004 ACCI received responses to a survey on apprentice wages from 732 employers
(employing more than 4,200 apprentices) in the key skills shortage areas of metals, specialty
manufacturing, automotive retail and repair, electrical, building and construction, hospitality and
personal services.
The survey indicated that just over half of the responding employers paid a proportion or all of
their apprentices above the award rates. Forty-five per cent of the apprentices they employed
were paid above the minimum wage in the federal or state industry awards with greater
proportions of third and fourth year apprentices being paid above the award. In addition, larger
organisations were more likely to pay above the award, and employers in metropolitan areas
paying at a higher rate above the award than those in regional areas. The survey also found that
almost two-thirds of employers paid their metals industry and electrical apprentices above the
award. The same was true for 57% of employers of building and construction apprentices, and
36% of automotive retail and repair apprentices. Apprentices in the electrical trades were much
more likely to be paid more than the median for all occupational groups.
Employers reported that they paid more wages to keep good apprentices (57%), maintain wage
relativities with other trades in their enterprise agreements (36%), recruit apprentices (15%),
respond to market forces (14%) and other reasons (16%).
The attributes of individual apprentices was a major consideration for paying above award wages.
This included age, educational level, ability and quality of work. Employers tended to pay older
apprentices higher wages. This was generally because older apprentices were more mature, and
often demonstrated initiative and leadership. Ability, performance, application, work attitude and
general behaviour were used as a main criteria for better wages.


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Employers also provided apprentices with other benefits including TAFE fees (57%),
tools/equipment/ clothes (57%), safety or productivity bonuses (30%) and other benefits (8%).
Employers provided benefits including the use of vehicles, mobile phones, travel expenses,
accommodation and living away from home allowances, meals and other training related costs.
Assistance with the purchase of tool-kits is also a common benefit provided by employers.


V. School-based apprenticeships and traineeships
The Work Choices legislation aims to remove existing IR barriers to the uptake of school-based
apprenticeships by stipulating formulae for pay rates that apply to school-based apprenticeships.
The rate of pay for a such an apprenticeship is based on the first year rate of pay for a full-time
first-year apprentice. The formula to be used is described in Box 1.

Box 1: Proposed wage reforms for school-based apprentices and school-based trainees

Full-time first-year apprentice hourly rate X 125/100

 where the full-time first-year apprentice hourly rate of pay specified, in the applicable wage instrument, for a full-
time first-year apprentice doing the same kind of work in the same location and for the same employer as the
school-based apprentice, or if the rate of pay specified in the applicable wage instrument is not an hourly rate – that
rate converted into an hourly rate. Where a wage instrument already specifies rates of pay for a SBA then those
conditions endure. When a SBA converts into a full-time apprentice doing the same type of work as was done as a
SBA then the following conditions apply. The person’s time as a full-time apprentice is taken to include the period
calculated using the formula. Time as a school-based apprentice X ½ (where time = the time for which the person
was a school-based apprentice.

For school-based trainee (SBT)the rates of pay for a calendar year up to and including Year 11–is $7.27 per
hour, for a calendar year in which the SBT is enrolled in year 12 or later year – $7.99 per hour. However, this
does not mean that those trainees who are receiving more generous offers should not continue to do so, and it does
not mean that this takes the place of an already operating wage instrument.


VI. Summary
     1. Pay and conditions for Australian workers are determined by federal and state awards,
        Australian Workplace Agreements (generally based on federal or state awards) and
        Enterprise Agreements.

     2. 50% of workers in the mining industry are employed on Australian Workplace
        Agreements. There has been an increase in the number of apprentices and trainees
        employed on Workplace Agreements.

     3. Work Choices Legislation is aimed at freeing up award systems especially for the
        employment of school-based apprentices and trainees.

     4. Employees and apprentices and trainees in the mining sector have higher rates of pay than
        other sectors.




90                    Addressing barriers to the employment and training of traditional trades apprentices and trainees
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                                                              System reforms
In this section we review briefly major reforms that have been implemented since the
introduction of training reform in the 1990s, we discuss the introduction and arrangements for
flexible apprenticeships, and identify current reform arrangements. In some cases these have
already appeared in prior chapters. In this section they are used to supplement earlier
descriptions.


I. Initial reforms
A number of reforms to the apprenticeship and traineeship system in Australia have been
implemented by Australian Governments since the early 1990s (NCVER 2001). Early reforms
have included:
 the introduction of competency-based training and training packages
 abolishing the age restriction in 1992, enabling people of all ages to participate in
     apprenticeships and traineeships
 relaxation of formal off-the-job training requirements in apprenticeships and traineeships and
     an extension of traineeships to programs equivalent to certificate III, certificate IV or
     diploma level qualifications implemented in 1994 -95
 since 1995, vocational certificates and other qualifications gained from apprenticeships and
     traineeships have been incorporated into the Australian Qualifications Framework
 an integrated new apprenticeship system was established in 1998, incorporating both
     apprenticeships and traineeships into a single national system. New flexibilities such as user
     choice of training providers were also introduced.


II. Flexible apprenticeships
Flexible apprenticeships were first identified as a way to complement the reforms happening in
vocational education which were moving to the simplification of the delivery of training to
respond to employer and business need. They were particularly relevant to new wage
arrangements that would be applied in the setting up of Australian Workplace Agreements under
the industrial relations reforms of the period. Flexible apprenticeships were to differ from
standard apprenticeships in that they were to reflect a different mix of training and work. For
example, these reforms were established to help the training system develop pathways that were
more responsive to industry needs. They helped to establish wage arrangements for part-time
apprenticeships and school-based new apprenticeships.

Underpinning concepts
The concept underpinning flexible apprenticeships was the alteration of wage rates of
apprentices according to the time that was spent in productive work. For example, if an
apprentice undertakes all of the nominal hours which apply to the apprenticeship in off-the-job
training then the wage rate would not alter. However, if the apprentice spent more of these
nominal hours in productive work then the wage rate would be altered to reflect this.




91                Addressing barriers to the employment and training of traditional trades apprentices and trainees
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Training referred to the number of ordinary hours per week that apprentices spend undertaking
the nominal number of hours set out in the training packages, or where there is no training
package or where the nominal hours are not spelled out, the nominal number of hours approved
by the State Training Authority for the particular benchmark apprenticeship. Training may be
delivered off-the-job by a training provider, by distance education or in the workplace.

Wage arrangements
Wage arrangements for apprentices and trainees under the 1996 Workplace Relations Act, the
Workplace Relations Regulations, and the Workplace Relations and Other Legislation
Amendment Act 1997 have been explained in User Guides published by the Department of
Workplace Relations and Small Business (now DEWR). User Guide No. 7 (DEWR 1998)
indicated that existing apprenticeships and traineeship arrangements would be preserved. For
those apprenticeships and traineeships where there was no appropriate rate of pay under the
award because the apprenticeship or traineeship had a different combination of work and
training hours to that provided under the award, the minimum wage was to be the most relevant
award rate and would be adjusted according to the time that was spent in training. Under these
arrangements it was also expected that if more hours were to be spent in training that apprentices
would achieve fully qualified and competent employee status more quickly. (For apprentices and
trainees employed under the AWAs there was also to be a no-disadvantage test applied).

Rates of pay
A system of benchmarks would guide the calculation of appropriate rates of pay for these non-
standard apprenticeships. For example the minimum wage benchmark set out in an award for
existing apprenticeships would apply if the apprentice had the same mix of training and
productive work as the existing relevant award apprenticeship. However where the apprentice
was undertaking an apprenticeship associated with a different training work combination to the
relevant award apprenticeship, the award rate would be adjusted to reflect the different amount
of time spent in productive work. For example if the award apprentice received $250.00 per
week, and the new or non-standard apprenticeship involved less time in productive work, then
the minimum pay under a workplace agreement would be $250.00 x.90c per week (that is
$225.00 per week). However if it involved 10% more time spent in productive work then the
minimum pay would be $225 x 1.10c (that is $275.00).

For new traineeships wage rates would also be altered to reflect the time spent in productive
work. However, the minimum rate of pay would be calculated by taking the non-trainee award
rate (that is the junior rate) and adjusting it according to time spent in productive work, with no
payment for time spent in training. For example, if the junior rate were $175.00 per week when
the trainee spent 75% of his or her time in productive work then the trainee wage rate would be
$225 x75c per week (that is, $165.00).

In addition, the wages of both apprentices and trainees would be based on an average of the
proportion of time spent in productive work over a defined period. Approving authorities
(generally state and territory training authorities, Industry Training Advisory Bodies, or bodies
meeting criteria set out in the Regulation) would determine the mix of training and productive
work for each type of apprenticeship and traineeship. The approving body could also determine
the type of criteria to be used to progress apprentices and trainees through wage scales. For
example, competency-based criteria could be used to take the place of time-based criteria for
apprentices, and junior wages for trainees.

The 1996 reforms also allowed for the government to establish top-up wages for full-time
apprentices and trainees employed under the new industrial arrangements, to address those cases


92                 Addressing barriers to the employment and training of traditional trades apprentices and trainees
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whether time spent in training would lead to wage rates that were below what was considered to
be an appropriate level.

Full-time apprentices and trainees covered by the new wage arrangements would receive the
current National Training Wage minimums per week. These were $128.00, $158.00, $195.00 for
16, 17, and 18 year-olds respectively. There was also to be a $220.00 minimum on the attainment
of AQF Level 2, and continuing training to achieve AQF Level 3.

Although Queensland and Victoria did a lot of initial work in developing these benchmarks the
concept of ‗flexible apprenticeships‘ was not implemented with both jurisdictions using the other
methods for establishing appropriate rates of pay.


III. Current reforms
In an effort to increase the participation and retention rates in apprenticeships and traineeships
and to further address the issue of skill shortages in the trades, a raft of new measures were
announced by the Australian Government in the May 2005 Budget. These measures are aimed at
encouraging more Australians into New Apprenticeships and promoting the belief that high
quality vocational education should be as highly regarded as a university qualification.
Implemented from 1 July 2005, the Australian Government will over the next five years commit
approximately $680 million towards these measures.

Australian Technical Colleges
A total 24 new colleges will be established around Australia primarily in regions with identified
skill shortages in specified trades. Individuals enrolled in these colleges will commence a School-
Based New Apprenticeship whilst completing academic subjects leading to a Year 12 certificate.

To ensure these colleges are linked with local industry and respond to local skill needs, industry
and community representatives from the region will be involved in the governance of each
college.

Group Training in Trades Programme
Funding of $46 million will be provided over four years to this programme. It will assist 11,500
people nationally to undertake a New Apprenticeship in the trades either by obtaining a School-
Based New Apprenticeship or by completing pre-vocational training in readiness for starting a
New Apprenticeship. Group Training Organisations across Australia will be contracted to
manage the delivery of the programme. It is intended that this programme will complement
existing ones by providing pre-vocational training to those individuals who are unable to
participate in New Apprenticeship Access Programmes. It will also support School-Based New
Apprenticeships in areas not immediately covered by Australian Technical Colleges.

Institute for Trade Skills Excellence
The Institute for Trade Skills Excellence has been set up by the Federal Government to work
with industry (peak industry bodies, ACCI, BCA, AiG and the National Farmers‘ Federation,
industry associations, Industry Skills Councils and other industry experts) to identify and reward
excellence in training. This includes recognising the training conducted by RTOs, endorsing the
trade qualifications awarded by these RTOs, providing teaching excellence awards, and engaging
in promotional campaigns to elevate the quality of trade training and the status of the traditional
trades. The mining industry should investigate how best it can benefit from and contribute to the
workings of the institute.

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Tools for your trade
A tool kit up to the value of $800 is to be made available to New Apprentices commencing in
specific traditional trades experiencing skill shortages (eg. metal fitter, motor mechanic,
electrician, brick layer, chef). This initiative is aimed at helping eligible New Apprentices
overcome the financial burden of purchasing required materials, tools, uniforms or safety
equipment in the first year of their training. Upon completion of the first three months of their
apprenticeship, the New Apprentice‘s employer will receive the tool kit. The New Apprentices
takes ownership of the tool kit upon a further six months completion.

Living Away from Home Allowance
With the aim of benefiting almost 3,000 New Apprentices annually, the Living Away from Home
Allowance has been extended to third year New Apprentices, providing them with $25 a week
assistance. This allowance complements that already provided to first and second year New
Apprentices.

Commonwealth Trade Learning Scholarship
The Scholarship consisting of two $500 tax exempt payments is available to all eligible New
Apprentices employed in a small or medium sized business of 500 or fewer employees and
undertaking a specific traditional trade occupation at the Certificate III or IV level. The payment
is made at the successful completion of the first and second years of their New Apprenticeship.

Youth Allowance, AUSTUDY and ABSTUDY
Eligibility for Youth Allowance, AUSTUDY and ABSTUDY payments has been extended to
full-time New Apprentices who meet the personal income test and where applicable the parental
and partner income tests. As their wages grow, the amount of assistance is adjusted according to
the application of the personal income test.


IV. Strategy for achieving national system
At its June 2005 meeting, the Council of Australian Governments (COAG 2005) agreed to
establish a joint Commonwealth-State working group to address barriers to achieving a national
approach to apprenticeships and training. The working group would examine and report by
December 2005 on the following:
 effective implementation of full mutual recognition of skills qualifications across Australia;
 an appropriate system for recognition of overseas qualifications;
 shortening the duration of apprenticeships where competencies are demonstrated and enabling
     school-based apprenticeships;
 ensuring maximum flexibility in training for employers and apprentices;
 effective competition between training providers;
 allowing intermediate or specialised qualifications as well as full apprenticeships;
 the impact of skills shortages on particular industries and regions; and
 the merits of a purchaser/provider split for apprenticeship funding.


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Prepared for the June 2005 COAG meeting, the Premier of Victoria, Steve Bracks‘ Communiqué
(2005) outlined a national agenda for social and economic reform in Australia). A key area of
these proposed reforms is the requirement of a new model for delivering vocational education
and training (VET) that will improve the system‘s effectiveness and enhance its accountabilities.
Under this model, the States would transfer responsibility for funding of New Apprenticeships to
the Commonwealth. It is also suggested that the length of apprenticeships should be increasingly
defined by individual competency rather than duration. It is believed that by increasing
apprenticeships‘ flexibility it may go some way towards alleviating potential student concerns
about entering trades.

A report commissioned by the Victorian Government for the COAG meeting, A new approach to
workforce skills for a more prosperous Australia, proposes the new model for VET delivery, identifies
opportunities to ensure VET becomes more valuable, relevant and responsive to a changing
labour market and, highlights the need for skills development to include a reform in higher
education.


V. Workplace relations reforms
Various workplace relations reform initiatives designed to remove barriers which discourage
young Australians entering apprenticeships were announced by the Prime Minister, John Howard
in September 2005. These initiatives are part of the workplace relations reform legislation (Work
Choices) and include:
 minimum wages for trainees set by the Australian Fair Pay Commission (AFPC) to ensure they
    remain competitive in the labour market
 the AFPC having the discretion to set separate minimum wages for all categories of trainees
 the AFPC to take any action necessary in relation to wages to ensure that the full range of
     apprenticeships and other training arrangements created by the training system will be
     covered by appropriate wages
 where there are currently gaps in state or federal award arrangements, the AFPC will establish
    minimum training wages for all those types of apprenticeships
 the removal of any provision in an award that restricts the range of apprenticeships, including
     removal of any regulations or limits on the duration of apprenticeships. Provide standard
     minimum wages for school-based traineeships to take effect immediately and be available
     for Australian Technical Colleges wherever awards do not already include such minima.


VI. Summary
Early reforms saw the review of the training system to:

     1. increase the leadership role of industry

     2. introduce competency-based training

     3. extend the apprenticeship concept to new areas

     4. open up opportunities to deliver accredited training to non-government providers

     5. implement user choice funding arrangements

Flexible apprenticeships were discussed in Queensland and Victoria as a way to differentiate non-
standard arrangements in pay structures.


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Current reforms have been aimed at improving the system to increase participation in
apprenticeships and traineeships (especially traditional trades) by:

     1. Establishing Australian Technical colleges

     2. Increasing incentives and allowances for apprentices and trainees (including tool kits,
        living away from home allowances, access to AUSTUDY, ABSTUDY and Youth
        Allowances)

     3. Providing incentives for innovation, and group training companies

     4. Providing scholarships for apprentices and trainees

     5. introducing legislations (Work Choices Legislation) to remove award restrictions to
        employment of apprentices and trainees including school-based apprentices and trainees

     6. Implementing a strategy to develop one national system




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Conclusions and recommendations
In this chapter we provide a brief conclusion about the findings of the study and propose an
advocacy strategy comprising recommended actions for the mining industry. These supplement
those provided by the NCVER/NILs report.


I. Conclusions
This study has found that there is no magical formula to addressing the barriers to employment
and training of apprentices and trainees in the mining industry. There is, however, a need to
understand that what is being applied in many of the training models is already available under
the competency-based approach to training and skills progression. Keeping this in mind it makes
good sense to make full use of the capabilities available under present arrangements for early
completions. It also makes sense to training contracts flexible and provide for those learners who
do not have the capacity or experience for ‗fast-tracking‘ and allowing those who do have the
experience and the skill to move through the apprenticeship in shorter time frames. Of course
this does not preclude the need to review some of the time durations in some trades to see that
they still meet industry requirements. Such reviews have already begun.


a. Preserving competency-based training approaches
In the main, the use of competency-based approaches for the acquisition of full-trade
qualifications has been the vehicle for ‗fast-tracking‘ apprenticeships in the traditional trades
across jurisdictions and those servicing the mining industry. It has been identified as one of the
solutions to addressing current skill shortages. However, support for the concept of ‗fast-
tracking‘ especially for new entrants is not unanimous among employer and employee
stakeholders in the mining and other industries. Support is minimal from the licensed trades.
There is general support for ‗fast-tracking‘ for existing workers with trade-specific skills and
experience.

Applying competency-based skills progression
It is clear that one way to accelerate the ‗fast-tracking‘ of apprentices in any industry including the
mining industry is to implement the competency-based approach to skills progression. The
implementation of ‗fast-tracking‘ (where it has been adopted) has often been based on the
implementation of the competency-based training and assessment model of progression through
qualifications and on-the-job competencies. This has included more regular and intensified off-
the-job training (including upfront training), supervisory visits and assessment. It has included the
application of RPL strategies to recognise relevant industry experience and knowledge of existing
workers or tradesmen from overseas. It has also meant making available more flexible methods
of delivery and learning. The use of pre-vocational programs has also been common. However, it
must be understood that there has been no intention to reduce the competencies that must be
achieved for the full qualification.

However applying competency-based skills progression varies across jurisdictions. Where it is
possible to implement these approaches in the Queensland system, the South Australian, New
South Wales and Tasmanian systems uses competency-based approaches for the completion of
formal qualifications and time-based approaches for the signing off of contracts. In all states


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there are opportunities for early sign off when almost all of the contract has been completed if
there is agreement between the various parties to the contract.

Catering for learners requiring additional support
Respondents to the study highlighted the need to ensure that the learners who require additional
time and support are not disadvantaged by any moves to reduce the nominal duration of
contracts. By keeping the need for apprentices sign on for the traditional 4-year nominal term, it
allows the application of self-paced learning concepts which can cater for those who are able to
acquire competency in quicker time frames, and those who require the full term to become
competent. There have also been instances where the durations have extended to allow learners
who require extra time and support to complete their apprenticeships.

Preserving competency and time-based approaches
Employer and employee stakeholders in the mining industry are of the view that any acceleration
of apprenticeship without the acquisition of required knowledge and skill does no favours for
employers, employees and the industry as a whole. It is important that industry preserve the
concept of competency accompanied by sufficient time to gain expertise and apply this to a
variety of situations to apprenticeship and traineeship training. This does not mean that
stakeholders are not in favour of reviewing the time durations associated with some trades.


b. Modifying contract provisions
There are few programs (identified as fast-tracked programs) in any states where the actual
nominal durations are altered on signing of the contract. This is also the case for the mining
industry. In the main these durations have been preserved. However, actual durations of
contracts have been accelerated.

Preserving nominal durations but accelerating actual durations
In most cases apprentices have signed on for the usual term (four years in most cases) with the
proviso that the can achieve tradesperson status as soon as they have achieved competency. For
example, the aim of the pilot in some of the trades participating in the Queensland Smart Skills
program is to require contracts to be signed for the traditional duration, with aims to have
apprentices signed off early within periods of 18 months, 24 months, 30 months and 36 months.
In the main the shorter target of 18 months is reserved for mature age workers with experience,
the 24 month duration with commercial cookery and printing, 30 months for building and
construction trades, and 36 months for manufacturing and engineering trades.

There are trades across jurisdictions and within the mining industry where there is major
opposition from employer and employee organisations to any view of fast-tracking or shortening
the experience that is associated with the passage of time, that has been traditionally four years.
These are generally associated with the licensed trades (such as electrical and plumbing trades).
Here the preference is to continue current methods of training where time served is associated
with an appropriate mix of off and on-the-job training occurring in tandem. The appropriate mix
of theory and practice throughout the contract is critical in areas where the jobs are associated
with high risk activity.

The custom for apprentices to be engaged in doing only menial activities during their initial years
is a widespread perception. If this is actually what happens in the workplace, then it is here that
employers can help in the acceleration of apprenticeships by ensuring that apprentices in their


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first year do not waste valuable time doing tasks that no one else wants to do. It is also generally
well known that practice (or perfect practice) makes perfect. If apprentices during their first years
begin early to learn and apply the skills of their trade then they will have accumulated the industry
skill and experience to warrant earlier completion than the nominal term.

We must also keep in mind that in accelerating the completion of contracts it also means the
quicker release from employment of apprentices and trainees. For the mining industry it might
mean the quicker loss of qualified tradespeople, whose contract of training may be the only thing
keeping them attached to the company and the remote location.

There are number successful models of apprenticeship training which have been used to
accelerate the completion of qualifications which are worthy of consideration by the mining
industry. In the main the programs combine intensive up-front training, and increased numbers
of block release arrangements throughout the early years of the apprenticeship to enable early
completion of qualifications. For existing workers who have been working in the industry, there
is extensive use of RPL and gap training. In all cases there is no attempt to reduce the number of
competencies that must be achieved.

The CITEA program in the ACT accelerates the completion of trade qualifications by having
apprentices first attend intensive up-front training to enable them to acquire the initial
competencies required to make them work ready before going into host employment. Host
employment is then combined with increased off-the-job training blocks to enable the
completion of Certificate III qualifications in the first two years of apprenticeship. There are also
opportunities for trade apprentices to move into a cadetship after 12 months and so complete
both their trade qualifications and their Certificate IV qualifications during the course of the
four-year contract.

Another program worthy of attention is the The TradesStart at TAFE program in New South
Wales, which is a pre-apprenticeship program, specifically dedicated to the fast-tracking of
apprenticeships. This enables participants to complete their first year of TAFE training in 16
weeks before they start work.

The Fast-track Apprenticeship Program used in Western Australia is aimed those with
considerable experience in the industry. It is based on the extensive use of RPL strategies to
assess the level of skill of the individual and the appropriate placement into off-the-job training.

Another promising program is the accelerated program being trialled in the Printing Industry in
Queensland. This program aims to have apprentices complete the 24 units of competency with
almost half the traditional contract time. It does this through more frequent supervisory visits by
RTOs, more frequent block releases and more frequent assessments. The achievement of
competencies is accompanied by relative wage progression arrangements.

Customising durations to specific trades
Employers and employee stakeholders are generally of the view that it makes good sense to
review existing nominal term durations associated with the great majority of trades. However, if
shortened durations to contracts were to be introduced these would have to based on the
different requirements of different trades. Where trades have to comply with a variety of
regulations (that is the licensed electrical and plumbing trades), and are based on the application
of more complex theory and knowledge, there may be limited opportunities for shortening the
duration of contracts. However, where training for apprentices includes areas of specialisation for
which there is little call for in the industry at large there may be some occasions to reduce the
nominal durations of contracts, especially as in many occasions young apprentices are being
required to work at full tradesperson capacity after the first 24 or 30 months. In some trades


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there is little protection for fully qualified tradespersons as those with limited licences can
compete for similar jobs.

Reviewing the appropriateness of time durations for some trades
The review of nominal durations has been an ongoing issue in the traditional trades, and nominal
durations have gradually come down across the years. For example, there are current tradesmen
who completed their traditional trade apprenticeships under contracts or indentures that spanned
periods far longer than the current four years required in most traditional trade apprenticeships
today. In the long run it is what the trade or industry is prepared to accept which will determine
the duration of contracts.

The review of the current four-year duration for some trades is also suggested as one way to see
whether or not the current nominal durations suit the changed workplace. Adjusting to changes
brought about by advanced technology, computerisation, has been a very real issue for those
trades where such changes have revolutionised the way that work gets done. As a result there
may be some traditional trades where a review or evaluation of nominal durations for training
contracts is required. For example, the automotive industry in Victoria has implemented an
agreement with major car companies to reduce nominal durations from four to three years. In
Western Australia there is formal metals industry agreement to change the nominal duration for
specific metal trades (fabrication, mechanical, aircraft maintenance, shipwrighting and
boatbuilding) from 4 years to 3.5 years, and to review the durations for electrical trades, jewellery,
watch and clocking making and repair, and toolmaking and jigmaking (furniture trades).

It is clear that before any major changes are made to the apprenticeship system in each of the
traditional trades there needs to be industry consultation. This means gathering information from
employers, unions, and tradespeople on what are the relative merits of cutting durations, and
what are the associated risks.


c. Protecting rights to full qualifications
There is definite support in the mining industry and the great majority of trades for the
preservation of full qualifications. It is seen as one way to provide high level skills to the industry
and protect the labour market value of tradespersons themselves. There is little support in the
mining industry for skills fragmentation. However, there is a view that some fragmentation can in
the short-term can be used to meet skill shortages. The proviso to this view however is that
individuals must then be encouraged to go on to complete the full qualification.

Preserving broad-based approaches to occupational development
In a traditional four-year apprenticeship the employer receives most of his or her return on
investment towards the fourth year of the apprenticeship. On average, this is when the
apprentice begins to work more independently and requires less close supervision. It is also when
the apprentice begins to produce similar output to the fully qualified tradesperson. This is the
case for the mining industry and industry in general. If an accelerated model of training were to
be introduced, it would mean that the employer would have to pay higher wages at an earlier
point. There would also be the risk that the apprentice would be poached by other employers,
who had not trained apprentices and were only interested in buying in tradespersons.

Regardless of the importance of paying apprentices according to the achievement and use of their
competencies, acceleration might actually be a disservice to the industry as a whole and to
individuals looking to take apprenticeships if employers choose not to employ apprentices and
trainees at all and opt instead to buy in qualified tradespeople.

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It is also clear from the findings of this study that unions will oppose moves to introduce partial
rather than full qualifications for the traditional trades. There is a view that it is associated with a
‗dumbing down‘ of the skill sets of tradespersons. However, it is also clear that trades are
changing and that training needs to keep up with the changes in technology and in
manufacturing. Ensuring that apprentices have access to qualifications which are broad-based, in
addition to programs for specialisation, will be one way to progress the whole approach to
acceleration in traditional apprenticeships.

There has been a move by the Retail Motor Industry to introduce segmentation of skills as a way
to modernise apprenticeships so that it reflects what is going on in the industry, and to tailor
durations of contracts to the needs of the particular skill. Generally there has been low uptake by
employers of these shorter forms of apprenticeships.

Providing opportunities for multiple qualifications
Preserving nominal durations but increasing the number of qualifications that can be acquired
during the traditional four-year contract period has been used as another way to ‗fast-track‘
apprenticeships and so help to address the skill shortages. An innovative approach in the
construction trade is to have apprentices sign on for the nominal duration of the contract (that is,
four years for apprentices) and then intensify the use of up-front training, and block training
interspersed with on-the-job experience and training. During the term of the contract the
apprentice can complete their trade qualifications and also acquire post-trade qualifications. This
means rather than shortening the duration of the contract there is a focus on providing
apprentices with more qualifications. The use of the cadetship pathway for supervisory and
project management positions has also been used.


d. Extending the recruitment pool
The main strategies for extending the recruitment pool is to target existing and mature workers,
especially those with relevant trade experience. However it is also possible to provide career
progression opportunities for labourers and related workers in the industry. Another major
strategy is to recruit from pre-vocational programs, or work for the dole programs. Keeping in
mind that the engineering and electrical trades apprenticeships and traineeships are populated
mainly by young males, there is an opportunity to broaden the pool by targetting existing and
mature workers, and females.



Targetting existing and mature workers and females
Targetting workers who are already doing similar activities or have relevant industry experience,
and to formally recognise this knowledge and experience, is currently being experimented with in
different jurisdictions. The TradeStart program in New South Wales makes extensive use of RPL
strategies to ‗fast-track‘ the completion of apprenticeships. There are programs already in place to
recognise the skills of mature age and existing workers in pilots aimed at accelerating the
completion of contracts in Queensland and Western Australia. The TradesExpress program is
being introduced in Tasmania.

Keeping in mind that many of the traditional trades of relevance to the mining industry are male
dominated there are opportunities to extend the pool of workers by targetting female existing
workers, or mature age females in general.



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Recruiting from pre-vocational training programs
Traditional pre-vocational programs (or their equivalents) have been a recruitment ground for
many employers wanting to employ apprentices. These programs can be used to identify
participants with promise and promise such participants an apprenticeship immediately or when
they complete their training. In New South Wales there has been a renewed focus on pre-
vocational training and compulsion on those who employ apprentices from these programs to
provide full recognition of the training that has gone on before.

Recruiting from labour market programs
There are also opportunities for the industry to recruit from labour market programs or work-
for-the-dole programs. In remote areas opportunities can be provided for indigenous Australians
to gain a trade. Mining companies programs can establish partnership arrangements with TAFE
providers servicing remote areas and local Community Development Employment Projects
(CDEP) programs to provide apprenticeships and automotive mechanics or other engineering
training for young and mature people.

Dispelling myths about the traditional trades
A number of mining companies providing information for this study have established networks
with local schools to promote apprenticeships and traineeships in the traditional trades. They
have been successful and there are very few cases where there is a shortage of applicants for
apprenticeships. For example, Pilbara Iron, Xstrata, MacMahon, Roche, Silcar, Newmont, all
report no shortage of apprentice applicants.

In promoting apprenticeships to school students it is important to highlight the benefits that
having a trade can provide in the long-term. However, there must also be accompanying reforms
to the system so that employment in the lower skilled service areas does not provide a more
attractive option, and that workplace environments for the traditional trades implement safe
work practices. There is also a need to dispel the myths created by perceptions of apprentices
being subject to insensitive bosses, and having to undertake all the menial tasks no-one else
wants to do.

Selecting appropriate times for recruitment
If lack of interest is a result of limited promotion to students and their parents of traditional trade
pathways at the time that students are choosing their senior secondary subjects, then it is
important that the industry step up its promotional campaigns to coincide with these times.
There may also be opportunities to promote the possibility of apprenticeship pathways when
students original plans do not eventuate. Recruitment processes may have to be timed to occur at
the time at which students are receiving their results and making the final decisions to take up
offers of training. Offers to students who have missed out on offers could also be made at this
time.


e. Improving incentives and conditions
Although apprentices and trainees in the mining industry have access to higher level of
remuneration than other industries, the conditions in which they work may be less favourable.
Improving work environments, schedules and facilities available to apprentices and trainees and
tradespeople may also help to attract more people to the mining industry and to work for a time



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in remote areas. For apprentices and trainees in other industries remuneration continues to be a
point of contention.

It is clear that there are major inequalities in the types of wages paid to apprentices and those
paid to school leavers in other industries. There are also inequalities in the wages generally
available to tradespeople and those available to other jobs which have not required the same
amount of occupational training. It is clear that if apprentices are to be attracted to traditional
trades then there must be a review of the wages available for apprentices.

Increasing incentives for remote locations
Many mines and other facilities associated with the mining industry are to be found in remote
locations where there are low population concentrations and have low attraction for young and
mature workers. However, increasing the incentives for workers to come to such locations, that
is, providing suitable accommodation and recreational facilities, and attractive rotation schedules,
might help to attract young and mature workers to undertake an apprenticeship in these remote
locations.

Introducing concepts of ‗bonded scholarships‘
The concept of paying students training incentives in return for service once the training was
completed has been used in many areas. In the 1960s students who entered teaching generally did
so on what was called a teaching scholarship. This scholarship, paid by the state‘s Education
Department gave students a stipend during their two, three or four years training. Once this
training program was completed students were allocated to schools in metropolitan and country
areas. Generally, the bond, as it was called applied to three years of service.

Such type of scholarships could also be applied to apprentices when they are undertaking their
training. These scholarships would be paid to the apprentice on top of their apprenticeship pay
The stipend would have to be substantial to attract suitable apprentices to the industry.

Exploring different ways for retaining apprentices
Once apprentices have been attracted to the industry it is also important to retain them in the
industry for the duration of the apprenticeship. Xstrata has implemented an innovative way for
retaining apprentices in their programs until completion. Xstrata apprentices are able to
participate in the company bonus scheme which is a profit sharing scheme based on productivity
gains and safety records. However, bonuses for apprentices are held in trust for them until they
complete their apprenticeship. This way they have access to a large lump sum which can come in
handy if apprentices want to buy a large expensive item like a new car.


f. Ensuring adequate resources
The findings of this study indicate that whatever model of acceleration is adopted it is important
that there be adequate resources in terms of facilities and equipment and personnel.

Providing RPL resources
A common thread through the ‗fast-track‘ or ‗accelerated‘ models that have been described thus
far is to recruit existing workers with relevant experience and to apply RPL processes to award
credits for elements of competency. Applying these RPL processes is not as straightforward for
RTOs as it would first appear. First there is a need to visit workplaces and to speak with


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employers and apprentices and trainees about how the process will be applied. Then there is a
need to help individuals identify what are some of the competencies that will be included in the
RPL assessment, and the type of evidence that may be used to justify claims for RPL. Once the
individual has prepared for the assessment the workplace assessor must visit the workplace to
validate claims, question the individual about processes, and observe the individual perform
different tasks. At Swan Institute (Thornlie campus) a special workplace assessor has been
employed to conduct these RPL assessments for apprentices who have been identified as fast-
track apprentices.

Providing opportunities and resources for self-paced learning
If individuals are to accelerate through their training there is also a need to provide the
opportunities and learning materials for them to do so. Clearly written and easy to understand
self-paced learning materials that can be used by apprentices and trainees after work hours and
away from traditional classrooms are also essential. Implementing a system of tutorials where
individuals attend to gain assistance from lecturers and tutors is also another way to help students
accelerate their learning through working at their own pace.


II. Recommendations
In this section we provide a list of recommended strategies to assist individual corporations and
the mining industry as a whole address the major barriers to the employment of apprentices and
trainees.


a. Recommended strategies for the mining industry as a
whole
The study has concluded that there is no magical formula to addressing the barriers to the
employment and training of apprentices and trainees in the mining industry. There are however a
number of strategies that can be applied to solve immediate problems and enhance the
attractiveness of employment with individual companies and the mining industry as a whole. The
first of these strategies relates to activities that can be undertaken at the industry wide level.

      1. Continue to develop policies to increase industry commitment to
         training
The mining sector has traditionally relied on the government and other industry sectors to
provide them with qualified tradespeople. However, this pool of tradespeople declined rapidly
when government utilities outsourced their services and ceased to train substantial numbers of
apprentices. The mining industry is currently experiencing substantial economic growth. It is also
experiencing problems in attracting fully qualified tradespeople in key occupational areas (namely
mechanical and fabrication trades). Nevertheless those companies that have decided to employ
their own apprentices in the hope of growing their own tradespeople, report receiving
applications from far more individuals than were required.

Developing a commitment to the employment and training of apprentices by the industry as a
whole is a first step to addressing associated barriers. This means first developing an industry
policy about the training of apprentices and trainees, and then acquiring the resources that are
required to implement such policies.



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Promotional campaigns about the benefits of employing apprentices and trainees, and the
provision of practical information about where to access information (for example, websites, new
apprenticeship centres) information about employing apprentices and trainees should also be an
industry-wide responsibility.

      2. Continue to explore avenues for increasing industry capacity for
         training
There may be reasons other than commitment to training which may limit the capacity of the
mining sector companies to take on apprentices and trainees. This includes the ability for
tradespersons to devote time to the training of apprentices. The industry would do well to
investigate its capacity to increase the number of trainees and apprentice places being offered.

Exploring the option of implementing contractual commitments with contractors about taking
on apprentices and trainees would also be another avenue for addressing barriers to employment
and training in the sector.

The use of Group Training Companies to support the placement of apprentices and trainees
should also be explored.

      3. Promote apprenticeships and traineeships to existing workers with
         relevant experience and secondary school students
This study has found that apart from the recruitment of overseas tradespersons, current skill
shortages in key traditional trades across a number of jurisdictions are being addressed by the
recruitment of existing workers with relevant trade skills and experience to enter apprentices to
acquire full trade qualifications. In addition there some mining companies have established
successful promotional campaigns and networks with local schools to attract secondary school
students to the industry. These have had substantial success. The mining industry would also do
well to implement such promotional strategies.

Keeping in mining that there is a view that the industry is not always safe place to work, it may be
useful for the sector to promote all upgrades to facilities and equipment that have been
implemented, and the availability of increased knowledge and use of technologies and techniques
to improve safety.

Another promotional campaign could be about the higher than average wage rates and
allowances available to apprentices in the mining sector., and the firm bonds that are developed
with other workers. Working on a crew (especially those working underground) means that
apprentices (over the ages of 18 in some states) would be working closely with the same people
on a daily basis, and this would create very strong friendships.

The Institute for Trade Skills Excellence has been set up by the Federal Government to work
with industry to identify and reward excellence in training. The mining industry should
investigate how best it can benefit from and contribute to the workings of the institute.

      4. Explore strategies for making more ‗flexible‘ the delivery of training
If the mining sector is to improve its capacity for attracting apprentices and trainees to the
industry and retaining them until they have completed their contracts and beyond it is should
investigate adopting more flexible the arrangements for the delivery of this training. This report
has highlighted different ways to accelerate the completion of contracts. It makes sense for the
mining industry to disseminate information on the various approaches to acceleration that have
been reported in this study. It also makes sense for the sector to identify those examples that

105                Addressing barriers to the employment and training of traditional trades apprentices and trainees
                                                                                             in the minerals industry
make most sense for the mining industry. Those examples worthy of consideration and
dissemination are the acceleration arrangements being used by the CITEA group training scheme
in the ACT, TAFE Institutes providing the NSW TradeStart in TAFE programs, Thornlie TAFE
in Western Australia, and the Printing Industry in conjunction with Southbank TAFE in
Queensland. The apprenticeship program being used by Xstrata to develop tradespeople that are
especially suited to the mining industry is also worthy of attention as are the different automotive
programs being delivered by CMV and CMI in Victoria and South Australia.

In terms of making more flexible the training for apprentices and trainees in remote locations the
mining sector should work with relevant RTOs to identify strategies which will best suit the
needs of students in these areas. For example, a common strategy used in remote locations is to
have apprentices and trainees attend extended block releases to complete their off-the-job
training at regular intervals throughout the year.

The industry should also investigate the possibility for offering part-time apprenticeships and
traineeships in key occupational trades. This would also increase the flexibility of provision.

      5. Provide adequate support and resources for RPL assessments
RPL strategies are ways to accelerate the completion of trade qualifications. If the mining
industry is to recruit from the pool of experienced existing workers it must also be prepared to
develop a policy on the types of wages which will be made available to mature age apprentices,
and the resources it will make available for the implementation of RPL assessments. RTOs
involved in the ‗fast-tracking‘ of mature age apprentices in Western Australia have found that
they have had to allocate specific personnel to the task of conducting RPL assessments. RPL
assessments will also require individuals to gather evidence and prepare claims for prior learning
and current competency. Companies will also be asked to provide verification of the claims made
by individuals. The industry could help companies and individuals to prepare for this process by
working with RTOs to develop effective strategies. There is also a need to streamline these RPL
processes to make it more accessible for skilled migrants to have their qualifications and prior
experience formally recognised.

There is also a general view that there are no incentives for RTOs to increase their provision of
RPL or RCC assessments. However, the mining sector may want to investigate the arrangements
for encouraging TAFE institutes to increase their RPL provisions. Already there are
arrangements in Queensland to provide government incentives to RTOs for streamlining their
RPL processes to facilitate recognition of prior knowledge and current competencies.

      6. Introduce concept of ‗bonded scholarships‘ to retain tradespeople
In view of location and lifestyle being major disincentives for attracting and retaining apprentices
and tradespeople in the mining industry, there is a case for introducing the concept of a ‗bonded
scholarship‘. Such a bond would mean that apprentices and trainees would receive a substantial
stipend during their training. In return they would promise to work in the industry after having
completed their contracts of training for a minimum of three years.

      7. Provide continued support for broad-based occupational skills
         development for traditional trades
There is limited support for the fragmentation of qualifications among employer and employee
stakeholders in the mining industry . Where support has been reported it has been justified in
terms of meeting immediate skills shortages with the proviso that the full qualifications and trade



106                Addressing barriers to the employment and training of traditional trades apprentices and trainees
                                                                                             in the minerals industry
outcomes be completed at a later date. To this end the mining industry should continue support
for the broad-based approach to occupational skills development.

      8. Join other industries in reviewing nominal term durations
There have been a number of programs aimed at accelerate the completion of training contracts
before the four-year nominal term duration. However, in all but a few cases apprentices have
continued to sign on for the traditional 4-year term. Early sign off arrangements have been to
sign off the training contract.

Although removing the fixed term durations has been resisted by some trades there is a case for
reviewing whether or not the four-year term nominal duration can be reduced. The industry
should look to joining any taskforces or groups across jurisdictions that have been established to
look at this issue.

      9. Highlight the value of using school-based apprenticeships and
         traineeships to provide a head-start to completion of qualifications
Although access to school-based traineeships, especially hospitality and retail industries, is
widespread, this is not the case for apprenticeships or traineeships in the traditional trades.
Encouraging the provision and uptake of apprenticeships and traineeships in the traditional
trades will provide another mechanism for the mining industry to attract apprentices, and will
also help participants in these programs get a headstart in completing their apprenticeships and
traineeships once they leave school.

      10. Continue to work with government to provide work visas for
          tradespersons to work on current projects in areas of need
Importing skills from overseas has been a common solution to solving immediate skill shortages
problems in Australia. This continues to be case and is occurring in many mining companies
today. The Department for Immigration and Multicultural Affairs (DIMA) already provides visas
to enable overseas trained tradespersons to come to Australia to fill current skill shortages in the
mining industry. It will be important for the industry to work closely with government to
maintain these supply channels. However, in the long term this will not address the lack of
Australian grown tradespeople. Industry will have to work hard to develop policies and strategies
to attract Australian workers and young people to apprenticeships and traineeships.


 b. Recommendations for individual companies
Not all companies are experiencing shortages of applications for apprenticeship and traineeship
positions. Nevertheless, in view of the traditional low involvement of the mining sector in taking
up and training their own apprentices and trainees, there is also a need for individual companies
to commit to training. In the short-term, however, they would do well to extend or broaden their
recruitment pool, provide required support and encouragement for those taking up
apprenticeships and traineeships, and ensure that they provide the employment conditions,
recreational facilities, and schedule of rotations which will help to attract apprenticeships to their
companies.

      1. Develop a commitment to training
If mining companies are to ensure that they have access to a steady stream of trade skills in the
sector they must also be prepared to do their share of training. This means that they must be

107                Addressing barriers to the employment and training of traditional trades apprentices and trainees
                                                                                             in the minerals industry
prepared to take on apprentices and trainees either on their own or in collaboration with other
companies. Developing networks with those companies that have already established
apprenticeship and traineeship training programs would be one way to access practical
information about what works and what does not work. Already companies that have decided to
train their own apprentices are experiencing success in attracting applicants to positions.

      2. Extend the recruitment pool
If companies experience skills shortages then there is a case for employing migrant workers in
the short-term. However, if they are interested in having access to tradespeople who have close
knowledge of company equipment and processes, then they will have to target existing workers
with relevant experience and skill, and school-leavers with an interest in the traditional trades.
Keeping in mind there a few women working in the mining industry, and even less in training as
apprentices and trainees, there is an opportunity to extend the recruitment pool to females. It
also makes sense to target students in pre-vocational programs, and work-for-the-dole schemes.
There is also a case for promoting the take-up of apprenticeships or traineeships at times when
students have received their final results and may be considering an alternative pathway when
they do not obtain their first preferences.

      3. Provide attractive working conditions and facilities
Keeping in mind that location and life-style issues are the main factors inhibiting employment in
the mining industry, companies would do well to ensure that they have in place adequate
accommodation arrangements and recreational facilities to attract apprentices and trainees to
their remote locations. It would also make sense for them to establish shift rotations which give
apprentices and trainees an adequate number of ‗off‘ days which will make it worthwhile for
them to spend the required ‗on‘ days at the site. Access to supportive work colleagues will also
be essential for young apprentices living away from friends and family.

      4. Explore innovative ways for retaining apprentices until they complete
         their training contracts
The approach used by Xstrata provides an innovative example of how the bonus scheme which
operates in many mining companies can be modified for apprentices so that they have access to a
large lump sum at the completion of their contracts.

      5. Promote apprenticeships and traineeships in local secondary schools
Lack of adequate information about the benefits of apprenticeships has been found to be a major
barrier to the take up of traditional apprenticeships. Such barriers can be addressed by ensuring
that effective marketing and promotional strategies are implemented especially in secondary
schools. There are examples of mining companies who have been successful in promoting the
take-up of apprenticeships and traineeships among secondary school students in local areas.
These companies have made a concerted effort to provide school students with adequate
information about the occupations available in the mining sector.

      6. Provide opportunities and resources for self-paced learning
Apprentices and trainees in the mining sector have ample time to engage in training once they
have completed their work at the mine site during their ‗on‘ rotations. It is for this reason that
they need to have access to adequate facilities and equipment (quiet study areas, computers,
books) at the camp or accommodation facilities provided for them at the mine site or in the
town.

108                Addressing barriers to the employment and training of traditional trades apprentices and trainees
                                                                                             in the minerals industry
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111                 Addressing barriers to the employment and training of traditional trades apprentices and trainees
                                                                                              in the minerals industry
Appendix A
In this appendix we list the different individuals who provided information for the study.


Stakeholder organisations and individuals interviewed
1. TAFE
South Western Sydney Institute of TAFE (NSW)

Kangan Batman Institute of TAFE (VIC)

Regency TAFE (SA)

Holmesglen TAFE (Victoria)

Swan Institute of TAFE (Thornly) Western Australia

Swan Institute of TAFE (Thornly) Western Australia

2. Enterprise RTOs
CMI Toyota (South Australia)

CMV (Victoria)

CMV, (South Australia)

Toyota(Victoria)

3. Group Training Companies
Construction Industry Training and Employment Association Group Training Company (ACT)

Master Builders Association Group Training Company (ACT)

Engineering Employers Association Group Training Scheme (SA)

4. State and Commonwealth Agencies
Queensland Department of Education and Training

Queensland Apprenticeship Services

Department of Further Education, Employment, Science and Technology, South Australia

Office of Technical and Tertiary Education, (Victoria)

ACT Department of Education and Community Services (ACT)

Office of Post-compulsory Education and Training, Tasmania



112                Addressing barriers to the employment and training of traditional trades apprentices and trainees
                                                                                             in the minerals industry
Department of Education and Training, New South Wales

Department Employment, Education and Training, Northern Territory

Northern Territory New Apprenticeship Centre, Northern Territory

Apprenticeship and Traineeship Support Network (ATSN), Western Australia DET

Metals Industry Working Group

Department of Employment and Workplace Relations

Department of Immigration and Multicultural Affairs

Western Australian Industrial Relations Commission

4. Employer Organisations
Australian Industry Group

Master Builders Association, (Western Australia)

Printing Industry Association, Queensland

National Electrical and Communications Association (SA)

ACCI views provided in submission to Commonwealth government on ‗Barriers to training‘

Minerals Council of Australia

5. Mining companies, contractors, and apprentices
Roche Open Cut & Roche Mining IR

Newmont

Silcar

Xtrata,

Pilbara Iron

Argyle

MacMahon

6. Unions
CFMEU (SA)

UnionsSA

CMFEU, Cessnock site (NSW)

Communications, Electrical and Plumbing Union (SA)

Australian Manufacturers Workers‘ Union (Queensland)



113               Addressing barriers to the employment and training of traditional trades apprentices and trainees
                                                                                            in the minerals industry
UnionsNSW

UnionsNT

Queensland Council of Unions

UnionsTasmania

CMFEU, Tasmania

Mining section of CMFEU, Tasmania

Industry Skills Councils
Tourism and Hospitality

Manufacturing Industry Skills Council

Referred to Resource and Infrastructure Industry Skills Council report prepared for the former
Australian National Training Authority in 2005.




114               Addressing barriers to the employment and training of traditional trades apprentices and trainees
                                                                                            in the minerals industry
Appendix B
User Choice arrangements
New South Wales
Apprenticeship training under the user choice program in New South Wales for 2005 is limited
to 14 trades but accounts for 42% of all apprentices in-training. These comprise: automotive
(light vehicle, panel beating), bricklaying, western cookery, carpentry and joinery, electrical trade
(mechanic), electricity supply industry distribution, transmission, cable jointing and rail traction
(powerline), engineering (fabrication), meat processing (retailing), plumbing, and shop fitting.
Apart from the four electricity supply industry powerline trades which can be delivered State-
wide, funding is available to private RTOs if apprentices are employed in the Sydney
metropolitan area, and regions of the Lower Hunter region (Cessnock, Lake Macquarie,
Newcastle and Port Stephens), and Illawara (Kiama, Shellharbour and Woollongong).

User choice funding is available for almost all recognised traineeships in New South Wales.
Funding will apply to trainees who undertake AQF Certificate II to IV outcomes and must be
recognised under New South Wales Vocational Training Orders. Funding is also available for
part-time traineeships (undertaken in minimum of 15 months or maximum of 48 months) not
delivered to school students.

RTOs will receive the same payment for any RCC given to apprentices or trainees that they
would otherwise receive if they had delivered the full competency.

There is a commitment to providing open access to apprenticeship and traineeship training for all
members of the community. However the program especially encourages participation by groups
which are often ‗under-served‘. These are women (in non-traditional occupations), ATSI
Australians, people with disabilities, individuals lacking adequate social, literacy and numeracy
skills, people in rural and isolated areas, those of non-English speaking background, and the
unemployed.

Victoria
User Choice also enables apprentices and trainees and their employers to select private RTOs
and TAFE Institutes (with appropriate scope of registration) to deliver structured training
components of their apprenticeship or traineeship programs. Under this arrangement the
employer may access funding through the RTO or pay for the training themselves via a fee-for-
service arrangement.

The Victorian Learning and Employment Skills Commission (VLESC) administers the User
Choice program in Victoria. RTOs (including selected private RTOs) wanting to access User
Choice funds will enter a contract with the commission. Funding is available to contracted RTOs
to deliver training for new entrants to the workforce. These are defined as those who have not
been employed continuously for more than three months full-time (or less than 12 months
continuously as a part-time or casual employee) prior to entering a training contract with an
employer.




115                Addressing barriers to the employment and training of traditional trades apprentices and trainees
                                                                                             in the minerals industry
Queensland
As in other states the user choice program in Queensland aims to provide employers and
apprentices and trainees with choice of registered training provider. Since 2003 the Queensland
government has opted to purchases training from preferred suppliers who will be identified on
the basis of their prior performance and government priorities (that is RTOs which have
demonstrated their ability to provide the training and assessment services in desired geographical
locations, and the range of qualifications required). TAFE and Australian Agricultural College
Corporation in Queensland are considered to be preferred suppliers. However individual
institutions will have to undergo regular performance reviews to maintain or acquire this status.

In 2004 the funding priorities for user choice funding were to stimulate growth of
apprenticeships and traineeships in skill shortage areas and in new and emerging industries. This
includes funding for Certificate II and III level traineeships. Other traineeships were to be
funded just for identified priority population groups. These included: young people 15 to 19
years of age, ATSI Australians, Australian South Sea Islanders, long-term unemployed, women
re-entering the workforce after 12 months continuous absence, over 45 year-olds, and people
with a disability or non-English speaking background, and those who live in country and remote
areas. Funding for Certificate I qualifications would only be available for people with a disability.
Individuals (not including school-based apprentices and trainees) would only be funded for a
single traineeship in the same training package suite of qualifications or industry. However, those
who complete a traineeship and progress to an approved apprenticeship would be eligible for
state funding.

Western Australia
Funding priorities for User Choice in Western Australia are entry-level training for Certificate II
and III qualifications, young people aged between 15 and 24 years, strategic initiatives aimed at
addressing skill shortages, and regional and remote training.

The Western Australian government makes decisions about what they will support with User
Choice funding based on the advice provided by industry stakeholders and advisor bodies, state
training priorities, areas of national skills shortage, and qualifications required for entry-level jobs
(namely Certificate II and III qualifications).

There are some apprenticeships which are not funded. These are those where the qualification
that has been selected is very narrow and is considered not to be broad enough to improve the
marketability of the apprentice or trainee once he leaves his or her current employer. In addition,
there are apprenticeships and traineeships which can only be funded under User Choice if TAFE
is the provider. This is generally the case where there are not sufficient numbers of apprentices
and trainees to make it a sustainable arrangement for the private provider. However User Choice
arrangements are opened up to private providers where there are more than 100 annual
commencements in a specific trade (50 for non-metropolitan regions). All other trades with less
than these numbers are considered to be in thin markets and will be serviced by TAFE
(Department of Education and Training WA, 2005).

User Choice funding is generally not available to support the training of existing workers, that is,
those who have been employed full-time for longer than three months, or part-time for twelve
months. However, it can be used to support the training of 15 to 24 year old existing workers
who do not already have a formal qualification or are undertaking an apprenticeships. This
funding can also be used in areas of skill shortages and where there are clearly identified training
needs in an industry or enterprise.




116                Addressing barriers to the employment and training of traditional trades apprentices and trainees
                                                                                             in the minerals industry
User Choice funds are used to support the majority of Certificate II and III traineeships.
However, the department will stipulate the number of RTOs that will be eligible for User Choice
funding to deliver traineeships in aged care, business, hospitality, retail and warehousing.




South Australia
In 2001 South Australia, made User Choice funding available for apprentices and trainees who
train under a registered contract of training at AQF levels 1 to 3 inclusive using the off-the-job
model. It also made these funds available for those who were under a registered contract of
training in AQF Levels 1 and 2 using the on-the-job model. However, all existing workers who
take up a traineeship and have been employed for more than three months full-time, part-time,
or casual would not be eligible for these funds. User-choice funding is also available to existing
workers who are in part-time work but also undertaking a school-based new apprenticeship.

To ease skill shortages being experienced in the traditional trades the South Australian
Government is supporting a pilot program to use User Choice funds for existing workers who
commence trade apprenticeships on or after January 1 2005.

User Choice funding is now to be available for two successfully completed consecutive contracts
of training where the individual was not an existing worker under the first contract and
commences a second contract with the same employer within three months of completion of the
first contract. In addition User Choice funding can only be used for one qualification per
contract of training. Where a new qualification is sought a new contract of training must be
signed and registered with the Department of Further Education, Science and Training.

RTOs must be registered to deliver the qualification that has been stipulated for the vocation and
have signed a User Choice Agreement with the Minister. RTOs registered in other jurisdictions
can access User Choice Funds if the apprentice or trainee is working in South Australia, the
contract is registered in South Australia, the RTO is registered, and signed a User Choice
Funding Agreement with the minister, and meets audit requirements in South Australia.

In South Australia all training contracts must be accompanied by a Training Plan and together
must be registered within four weeks of an individual being employed under a Contract of
Training. Variations to contracts of training need also to be lodged wit the department.

Under off-the-job arrangements RTOs are able to collect a training fee of $1.50 per delivered
hour of training. RTOs will not be eligible to collect a training fee from new apprentices and their
employers under the on-the-job model of training. RTOs are funded $320.00 per visit made to
the apprentice and or employer. The RTO will be expected to make at least 10 visits to the
workplace for an apprenticeship with a nominal term duration of 36 to 48 months, 8 visits for a
30-month nominal term duration, 6 visits for 24-month nominal term duration, 4 visits for an 18-
month nominal term duration.

Tasmania
The Tasmania User Choice Policy identifies those apprenticeships and traineeships that are
approved for government funding under User Choice arrangements. Apprenticeship and
traineeship qualifications where the sole provider is the public provider (TAFE Tasmania) are
agriculture, automotive, building and construction, furniture and metal trades. Choice of RTO is
possible for all other funded apprenticeships and traineeships.
Existing employees (with more than three months full-time and 12 months part-time or casual
employment with the employer) are not eligible for funding. However funding is made available


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where an apprentice or trainee employed as new entrant progresses to a higher qualification level
in the same or different field under another training contract within 12 months of completing the
previous training contract.
Part-time apprenticeships and traineeships in some areas are also eligible for funding in Tasmania
providing they comply with industrial arrangements and conditions regarding the maximum and
minimum term of contracts and the time required for the completion of structured training. In
addition, part-time apprentices and trainees must be provided with a minimum of 20 hours per
week of employment, and training which occurs during paid work time.

Australian Capital Territory
User choice funding in the ACT is available for all apprenticeships and traineeships that have
been approved for funding and published on the ACT Department of Education and Training
website annually. User choice funding is available for all new employees (starting from the age of
15 years who have been in the workplace for less than 3 months full-time or 12 months part-
time. A limited number of qualifications are open to employees who have been employed longer
than this (that is, existing workers) in industries that have demonstrate a special need. Also, if a
new employee is progressing from completing one new apprenticeship certificate level to the
next level they are eligible for public funding if the gap between the two programs is less than 12
months. Public funding is not available to those who are not Australian citizens or permanent
residents or those who are on a temporary working visa. People with a Trade Skills Training Visa
can enter into a New Apprenticeships Training Contract, but are not publicly funded.

Northern Territory
Funding priorities in the Northern Territory are given to Northern Territory Government
directions and entry-level apprenticeships. This includes flexibility to address identified areas of
skills shortage and to meet the needs of identified equity groups. Funding can also be used for
apprenticeships for existing workers, especially in identified skill shortage areas, or where there
has not been a tradition of apprenticeships/traineeships and incorporates apprentices that are 21
years of age or under. For further information on apprenticeship funding in the Northern
Territory see the NT ―Apprenticeship/Traineeship Funding Policy‖ at the following web page
address: http://www.deet.nt.gov.au/training/policies/index.shtml

The Department invites RTOs to tender for apprenticeship funding during October/November
of each year. Allocations are made in late December for the Calendar year. RTOs that want to
access apprenticeship funding must make direct application to DEET to be considered eligible.

RTOs seeking to deliver apprenticeship training in the Northern Territory and be listed on the
Northern Territory Apprenticeship administration system must complete the attached form (Link
to Form) and fax it to (08) 8901 1326. It should be noted that approval of this application does
not constitute eligibility to access apprenticeship funding.




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Appendix C
Fast-tracking across states and territories

1. Fast-tracking in New South Wales
Fast-tracking of apprenticeships in New South Wales is based on the implementation of arrange
of strategies to recognise the previous attainment of required competencies. These include
recognition of current competencies in the case of mature age engineering apprentices and
specific pre-apprenticeship training as outlined below in the TradeStart at TAFE program. The
early sign-off of training contracts has been available for some time but has been recently
streamlined with staff in regionalised State Training Centres being given delegations to approve
early or competency based completion. At present this delegation allows training contracts to be
signed off up to 12 months earlier than the nominal duration of the contract. In all cases, quality
assurance measures are in place. For example, evidence of completion of the required AQF
qualification must be provided and the employer must concur that the apprentice/trainee has
achieved the required competencies.

TradeStart at TAFE
A recent initiative is the TradesStart at TAFE pre-apprenticeship program, specifically dedicated
to the fast-tracking of apprenticeships. This initiative provided $2 million to establish TradeStart
– a 12-month pilot scheme in which 675 apprentices will complete their first year of TAFE
training in 16 weeks before they start work. This program is aimed at meeting strong demand for
more job ready apprentices in skill shortage areas [including building, engineering trades (i.e.
electrical), hairdressing and commercial cookery).

TradeStart graduates have access a job matching service to match apprentices to employers.
Employers wishing to take on an apprentice are able to access this service through any one of the
Department of Education and Training‘s network of New Apprenticeships Centres across the
state, or by ringing a 1300 number. Participant assessment criteria provide opportunities for
mature age workers, migrants and other persons disadvantaged in the labour market.

This program is funded by the NSW Government.


Mature age workers project
In this pilot project the Job Network agency is used to identify mature age workers including
migrants who have demonstrated experience and skills related to the engineering trades of
engineering mechanical and engineering fabrication. Participants are given RPL assessments to
identify competencies already acquired and any gaps that need to be addressed. They are then
placed in a 16 weeks up-front training program where intensive gap training occurs. This
comprises their first year of the apprenticeship training program. They are then placed with
employers for the second year and third years and can then be signed off after the third year if
they have completed the required competencies.


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Already one group of 14 has been placed in the program with seven of these moving into
employment. However, some issues have been identified with the selection of appropriate
participants. For example, there were some participants who had difficulty with the theory
components of the program. There were also training wage issues that needed to be addressed.
Supplementation of the training wage by DEWR helped to address these financial issues for two
migrant engineers in the program.


New entrants
The TradesStart at TAFE initiative includes new entrants, who commence in a pre-
apprenticeship program and undertake 16 weeks of full-time up-front training accompanied with
work-placements in industry. Credit is negotiated centrally with industry representatives. Those
who complete the pre-apprenticeship program receive agreed credit up to 12 months off the
nominal term of apprenticeship training and the equivalent of Stage 1 of the relevant AQF trade
qualification. In this way they complete Stage 1 of the apprenticeship in their trade (credit
arrangements range from 4 months in the case of electrical apprentices or 12 months in the case
of engineering apprentices – see
http://apprenticeship.det.nsw.edu.au/html/advins/ats04010.htm.

There is also another variant of the project being delivered for the building industry and targetted
at disadvantaged youth (especially indigenous youth) at South Western Sydney, Miller campus. In
this program the NSW Department of Housing has contracted the school to build housing
commission homes. Although students in these programs are not apprentices, they will work
under supervision on the building of the homes. Once they finish this they can enter the
apprenticeship at the second year. They will then be able to complete the apprenticeship in three
years.


Credit transfer
The Vocational Guidelines for the accelerated adult engineering apprenticeships (mechanical and
fabrication) state that two years credit towards the nominal term of the 4-year apprenticeship will
be granted to adult apprentice applicants (at least 24 years of age). These applicants must show
that he/she:
 has had three years or more practical experience, in a related field, immediately prior to making
     the application; and
 competence to a minimum level of 32 weighted points in accordance with the Engineering
    Training Package (MEM98) packaging rules.

Credit for different industries in which TradesStart at TAFE is being applied has been worked
out in conjunction with relevant industries. For example, some plumbers are prepared to give 16
weeks credit for 16 weeks training program, while others are prepared to give between 9 and 12
months credit for the 12 months program.

TradesStart at TAFE training places are available for existing workers and for school leavers in
21 different occupations and can be provided at a variety of local campuses.


Pre-vocational programs
The NSW government has increased it pre-vocational apprenticeship programs especially in
industries experiencing skills shortages (automotive, manufacturing, engineering, electro-
technology, commercial cookery, construction and plumbing. Pre-vocational traineeship


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programs are available in aged care, children‘s services, commercial cookery, kitchen operations
and hairdressing.


Career Progression
Career progression is fundamental to the NSW vocational training system. Trainees who
complete their qualifications can enrol in apprenticeship programs and obtain full recognition of
the competencies they have already achieved and count these towards the apprenticeship. In the
main trainees move into an apprenticeship program that is related to their original traineeship
(Morgan cited by Toner 2005). For example, a metal trades assistant will progress to a metal
trades apprenticeship. An aircraft mechanic trainee will move into an aircraft mechanics trades,
waiters and bar attendants will move into apprenticeship pathways for cooks and chefs,
electrical/telecom trade assistant will move into an apprenticeship in the electrical/electronics
trades.

Regional Projects: Illawarra and Shoalhaven Apprenticeship Pilot Project
The Illawarra and Shoalhaven Apprenticeship Pilot Project is an initiative of the Illawarra
Apprenticeship Committee and the Illawarra Business Chamber. Other stakeholders include the
Department of Education and Training (DET), Commonwealth Department of Employment
and Workplace Relations (DEWR), the Illawarra Area Consultative Committee, TAFE NSW,
union organisations and local group training companies. The Project attempts to address trade
skill shortages and high youth unemployment in the region by providing pre-apprenticeship
training for young people and encouraging employers to participate in apprenticeship and
traineeship training. Pre-apprenticeship funding is provided by the NSW Government.

The Project is part-funded by the Commonwealth Department of Employment and Workplace
Relations (DEWR) which provides funding for the employment of a Project Officer.

Xstrata apprenticeships
The Xstrata company has two apprenticeship streams which are customised for its business
needs. These are for the training of its electrical and mechanical apprentices. The mechanical
apprentices are divided into two streams and will train to become plant mechanics and Xstrata
mechanical tradesmen. The Xstrata mechanical tradesmen will be trained to undertake
mechanical operations in underground workshops and environments.

During the first year of their apprenticeship the electrical apprentices will attend the Hunter
Valley Training Company for six months upfront training which takes place before they are
allowed on to the mine site. The first year mechanical apprentices will spend 10.5 months in
upfront training at the local TAFE college. For the remainder of their time they will spend 5 days
block release for every six weeks of their program until they have completed their off-the-job
training.

In contrast the Xstrata mechanical tradesperson will spend one day at TAFE and 4 days at the
Hunter Valley Training Company for their technical and off-the-job training. Apprentices will go
to the mine-site during their holiday breaks to get experience in the mine workshops. In their
second and third years the apprentices will rotate from their home sites to different sites to get a
broad range of experience. This includes open-cut and underground mine-sites (excepting for
coal preparation which has no apprentices). During this time apprentices will also undertake
work placements with external suppliers (including WESTRAC, and Original Equipment
Manufacturing). In their fourth year they will remain at the home site.



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Special arrangements have been made to customise training plans for the Xstrata mechanical
tradesperson apprentices. Their first year will be spent in developing knowledge and skill in
machining, the secnd year in structural fabrication and boilermaking, and the 3 rd year in fitting
(for example, gearboxes, alignment). This means that they will spend 3.5 years undertaking their
TAFE course. In the fourth year they will undertake six hydraulic subjects. The value for Xstrata
is that they will end up with a mechanical tradesperson who has specialised in fitting and
machining, fluid mechanics, hydraulics and fabrication.


2. Fast-tracking in Victoria
The early completion of traineeships in Victoria is a common occurrence. Here 80% of trainees
finish their contracts of training before their nominal duration. However, the early completion of
apprenticeships is less common, with about 25% of apprenticeships achieving early completion.
In the main apprentices may complete early by finishing between 8 and 9 months prior to the
nominal duration of their contracts. There is a move to encourage industry training boards to
accept the concept the mandatory reduction of duration of training contracts if individuals have
completed a pre-apprenticeship program.

The standard process in Victoria for the reduction of the duration of the contract is for the RTO
and the employer to negotiate the amount of RPL that will be awarded to the apprentice and
how much time will be reduced from the contract. For example, when the training contract is
created the employer will identify at what level he believes the apprentice can operate. The RTO
will also identify how much time it will take the apprentice to complete the off-the-job training.
They may decide that it will take three years for the apprentice to complete the apprenticeship. If
the apprentice completes in two years (that is, if the employer agrees to sign the apprentice off)
then it is actually a two-year reduction of the contract which is normally four years.

Automotive apprenticeships
The State Government has brokered an agreement between the Victorian Automobile Chamber
of Commerce (VACC) and the Australian Manufacturing Workers Union (AMWU) to reduce the
nominal duration of the automotive apprenticeship program from four years to three years. Pre-
apprenticeships would be used to develop the skills and knowledge participants and there would
be a mandatory reduction of the four-year term.

Many people would serve three-year apprenticeships instead of four — entering the workforce
on a higher salary and gaining recognition for existing skills and training. The union's vehicle
division federal secretary, Ian Jones, said the program would help solve an industry crisis. ‗Some
trades are about to go out of business altogether because the TAFES have so few students they
can't keep running the courses,‘ Mr Jones said.

The Skill Segmentation in the Retail Motor Industry report (produced by the VACC in conjunction
with the Centre for Workplace Communication [CWCC] and Culture and the Department of
Education, Science and Training) suggested that the changing needs of work in the automotive
industry would require a modernisation of traditional approaches to skill development. It was
suggested that the traditional trade mechanic would be replaced by a higher level diagnostician,
and that the routine service and repair work would be done by a routine mechanical service
worker. This would have implications for training.

A pilot program delivered by Kangan Batman TAFE (KBIT) in association with a number of
automotive companies has been established to target mature workers with experience in the
industry. The pilot is also being used to understand the demand for different pathways. To date
KBIT has found that small organisations seem to want the traditional 4-year model


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apprenticeship. It is also finding that although manufacturers may have an idea of what is
required for the servicing of their products, it is the dealerships who will make the final decision
about the pathways that they will support for apprentices.

The Institute is trying to convince employers that they should select pathways that best suit their
business needs, and to look at the value of different entry-level programs which can follow
different pathways.

Holden and Toyota fast-track apprenticehsips

Toyota dealers, VACC, CWCC and Kangan Bateman are involved in the delivery of fast-track
apprenticeships and traineeships. The Toyota Pilot comprises two streams: the Toyota certified
Pro Technician (Certificate III, Mechanical – Light Vehicle) and the Toyota Technician
(Certificate II in Automotive- Mechancial Vehicle Servicing). VACC will employ apprentices and
trainees and will host apprentices and trainees to Toyota dealerships. Selection for the program is
based on an interview and those who are selected will take up work with a dealer. Apprentices
and trainees will receive the full adult base wage for a technician. Holden and Toyota dealer staff
from act as mentors for the apprentices and Kangan Batman TAFE will manage the training.

Holden dealers, VACC, CWCC and Kangan Bateman Institute of TAFE are involved in the
delivery of fast-track apprenticeships and traineeships.The Holden pilot comprises two streams
the Service Technician (Certificate III Mechanical – Light Vehicle) and the Customer Service
stream (Certificate II in Automotive- Mechancial Vehicle Servicing).

An apprentice in both programs may complete the the fast track apprenticeship in 18 months
rather that the usual three years, and a trainee may complete the traineeship in six months rather
than the usual 12 months. ‗fast-tracking‘ commences with a 3 to 4 week intense training program
of day and evening programs. After this they attend two evening classes a week and one Saturday
per month to complete their studies. During the day time they will work in a dealership where
they will perform and practice trade skills. They may also be required to attend specialised
workshop training.

To date there has been considerable success with the program. However, there have been some
frustrations with participating dealers dropping out of the program, especially in view of the
expense of the program, in terms of VACC fees.

CMV automotive apprenticeships

Automotive apprentices in this program sign a 4-year contract with their employer Commercial
Motor Vehicles (CMV). A typical program will bring the apprentices in for an 8 week induction
course with one week spent on Occupational Health and Safety training and the rest of the time
spent on units of competence that have been selected in conjunction with Kangan Batman
TAFE. These units of competence are especially relevant to the manufacturer and the CMV
training centre will deliver these on TAFE‘s behalf. These will include units dealing with
transmission, engines, and electrics, electronic drive management and semi-automatic gear box.
After the first 8 weeks the apprentices will go to a dealerships with which they will remain for the
next 3 years (unless there is an exceptional circumstance and the arrangement needs to be
changed). They will then return every six weeks to the training centre for one week blocks of
training throughout the three years.

About 70% of the units that need to be covered in the three years will be conducted at TAFE
however about 70% of the training time is spent at the training centre where apprentices will
learn in much more detail those skills that especially apply to CMV needs.




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When apprentices have completed the three-year program and they are judged to be competent
to industry standards then application for early sign off is made. By June 2006 most of the
apprentices in the program will be on target to be signed off after the three years.


3. Fast-tracking in Queensland
The Queensland government‘s SMARTVET green paper highlighted the need to put into place
some systems for addressing skill shortages (namely manufacturing, engineering, building and
construction, and hospitality). The initiative put in place to address these is Smart Skills initiative
which includes accelerated apprenticeships and a new cadetship system.

Accelerated Apprenticeships
Under the accelerated apprenticeships program about 19 projects are being implemented to trial
the delivery of qualifications in shorter than nominal durations. Among these are pilot programs
in building and construction, mining, manufacturing, and engineering, which deal with reducing
the nominal duration of apprenticeships, and accelerating the completion of these
apprenticeships. The aim is to fund 182 apprenticeship places each year over three years.

Although there are a variety of models applied, the main strategies used to pilot these new
arrangements are intensive up-front training, expansion of traditional pre-vocational training to
deliver the off-the-job components prior to work placement to enable would be apprentices to
be work ready once they move into industry, and RPL and associated gap training for existing
workers so that they can move into advanced stages of the apprenticeship. Employers and
supervising RTOs are provided with incentives to streamline assessment processes so that
apprentices who demonstrate competence will be able to accelerate the completion of their
contracts.

A common theme of these projects is the partnering of industry groups or group training
companies, with supervising RTO‘s in the delivery of these programs. We provide some
examples of the type of programs that have been mounted under the Smart Skills Initiative.

Cadetships
The Smart Skills Initiative has also developed a new cadetship program. Under the cadetship
program funds have been allocated to provide training places in new high level qualification
pathways. The targeted industry sectors for this program are manufacturing (technical officers,
laboratory operations and electronic engineering) and other priority industry training groups
experiencing skill shortages (namely building and construction and hospitality).

Designed to complement the traditional apprenticeship and traineeship system, this new learning
pathway allows students to acquire higher level qualifications than through an apprenticeship, but
still in a work-based setting. It combines the general and technical skills required to work as a
para-professional in the targeted industries.

Printing Industry
There are a great number of workers in the printing industry who do not have a trade specific to
the industry and are looking for opportunities to acquire trade qualifications. The Printing
Machining pilot project (also funded under SmartVET) is a joint venture of the Printing
Association of Australia and Southbank TAFE. Its aim is to accelerate the training so that
apprentices can take a minimum of 2.5 years to complete their contracts.


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The pilot is run as a discrete program and is targeted at school leavers in addition to existing
workers. The aim is to reduce the apprenticeship period from the current four year term to two
and a half years, through a combination of revised delivery and industrial relations arrangements,
to develop a new trade pathway for the industry that is both marketable to new entrants and
industry relevant to identify appropriate models for acceleration.

Students will still complete the required 24 units of competencies but there will be more frequent
on-the-job visits made to apprentices by the supervising RTO which means that competencies
achieved can be more quickly signed off. There will be more frequent block releases occurring
throughout the year which means that off-the-job training can also be completed within a shorter
time frame. The fast-tracking of training is also accompanied by wage progression. On
commencement apprentices receive the regular first year wage for the apprentice, after 6 units of
competencies (25%) have been achieved they progress to the Year 2 rate for an apprentice, at 12
competencies (50%) they get the Year 3 rate, at 18 competencies (75%) they receive the Year 4
apprentice wage and at 24 competencies (100%) they achieve the wage for fully qualified
tradespersons in the printing industry.

This project has involved a combination of revised delivery arrangements and industrial relations
changes.

Hospitality and Commercial Cookery
The Cookery Pathfinders pilot is currently being developed for Existing Workers in the industry,
and for re-entrants who have been out of the industry and would like to come back at a higher
level. The Hospitality Industry Association is currently conducting focus groups with existing and
mature age workers on the whole notion of `new pathways‘.

MRAEL has been approved to pilot a hospitality program for 10 apprentices. This is the
Hospitality Effective Accelerated Training (HEAT) program. The HEAT program aims to
provide opportunities for those with basic cookery and occupational health and safety skills to
complete their trade qualifications within 36 months. A combination of intensive pre-vocational
training and block release arrangements is being used.

The Hospitality Training Association has also established two pilot projects: the Accelerated
Patisserie Pilot and the Accelerated Cookery Pilot (catering for 26 and 30 apprentices
respectively). These pilots are aimed at trialling a new apprentice training pathway which will
complete a qualification within 24 months. A key feature of these pilots is the delivery of
intensive pre-apprenticeship training which will enable graduates to be immediately productive
upon recruitment into apprenticeships and allows for acceleration through the remaining
requirements.

Sea-world Nara Resort Hotel, the Courthouse Restaurant in Cleveland, and Sheldon College have
combined to provide 24 secondary school students with an opportunity to participate in a
training pathway (the Redlands Hospitality Pathways project) which enables them to complete an
accelerated school-based traineeship within 6 months, and for selected participants to progress to
a commercial cookery apprenticeship. This pilot program was established as an accelerated
hospitality industry pathway project , trialling a school and industry partnership model to provide
sustainable training outcomes for the both the school community and the hospitality industry
sector. A unique feature of this program is that it has been developed and delivered by industry
operators to produce skilled workers to industry standards.

Building and Construction



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The group training company East Coast Apprenticeships and Brisbane North Institute of TAFE
have joined to provide a pilot program (for 20 apprentices) to provide opportunities for mature
aged unemployed people in the Caboolture, Pine Rivers and Redcliffe Shires to undertake
carpentry apprenticeships and accelerate the delivery so that apprentices can acquire a trade
qualification in about two and a half years.

The Gladstone Area Group Training Company in conjunction with Central Queensland
Institute of TAFE have also established a pilot program (for 20 apprentices) to enable adult trade
assistants or labourers within the Gladstone area to undertake RPL assessments and gap training
to acquire their engineering trade qualifications in about 18 months.

Southern Queensland Institute of TAFE has mounted a pilot program to address local skills
shortages and local unemployment in the Roma region. In this project (the Maranoa
Construction Acceleration Project) unemployed people and existing workers who are 21 years or
older (12 participants) are provided with opportunities to engage in training which prepares them
for employment, and enables selected participants to move into accelerated carpentry
apprenticeships.

Acclaim Apprentices and Trainees Ltd and Cooloola Institute of TAFE have also set up a pilot
program (Building Faster Futures) to provide selected participants (30 participants) to obtain
trade-specific skills and move into employment in the construction industry, especially in the wet
trades areas of painting and decorating, plastering and wall and floor tiling in an accelerated
training program aimed at completion within 30 months. The BIGA Ltd Company has also
implemented a pilot project aimed at providing training for 30 apprentices in these areas and
accelerating completion of the qualification within 36 months rather than 48 months.

The Construction Training Queensland Company in conjunction with the Clay and Brick Paver
Association of Queensland has also been approved to deliver an accelerated bricklaying
apprenticeship (for 50 participants) through its Building Better Skills Program. It is aimed at
attracting apprentices into the trade by providing a school-based ‗try a trade‘ initiative and an
intensive pre-vocational course. Once in the apprenticeship apprentices can accelerate
completion via flexible delivery allowing for completion of the apprenticeship within 36 months.

Automotive
The Southern Queensland Institute of TAFE have also established a pilot program(Toowoomba
Further Faster Auto) to enable semi-skilled mature aged persons within the Toowoomba area to
undertake RPL assessments and gap training to acquire their trade qualifications in about 36
months.

Engineering trades
The Barrier Reef Institute of TAFE in conjunction with Transfield Services has established the
Transfield Services Yabulu Expansion Project. This project aims to employ 25 people with
existing skills under accelerated apprenticeship arrangements in the engineering trades of boiler-
making, fitting and turning and electrical instrumentation. The aim is to augment the trade‘s
workforce in their maintenance facility which services the Queensland Nickel Industries Yabulu
nickel processing plant at Townsville. The pilot aims to have participants complete their trades
within 30 months.

MRAEL and the Central Queensland Institute of TAFE have also set up a program for 10
apprentices to address skills shortages in the Mackay area through their MRAEL Jump-Start
Engineering Training (JET) program. There will be some upfront intensive pre-vocational
training and accelerated block release arrangements.


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TORGAS Ltd and Betaray Training Academy have been approved to conduct an accelerated
apprenticeship for boiler-making which will enable apprentices to complete their trade
qualifications within 36 months. Their pilot involves modified block training arrangements,
intensive follow-up and workplace support and assessment.

Electronic engineering
Yeronga Institute of TAFE in conjunction with Work Pac has set up a feasibility study project
the Work Pac Electronic Assessment Project. This will trial applying RPL assessments of trade
assistants who are employed by labour hire companies. The project then aims to develop a trade
qualification pathway for existing workers in these skill shortage industries who are currently
engaged on a contract or labour hire basis and have no access to formal training or a career
pathway. The program aims to achieve a trade outcome for participants in 18-24 months,
achievable through a combination of targeted profiling, recruitment and employer placements, a
RPL validation process and targeted training delivery for the balance of competencies required
for each apprentice.


4. Fast-tracking in Western Australia
The Fast Track Apprenticeship Program is one of a number of strategies aimed to address
current and impending skill shortages within specified Industries. This program is a joint venture
by the relevant Industry Training councils and the Apprenticeship and Traineeship Support
Network (on behalf of the Apprenticeship and Traineeship Directorate for WA Department of
Education and Training There are also other discrete skills-development programs aimed at
specific industries with skills shortages, and the Trades Start program. These latter programs aim
to provide industry with individuals who are work ready. Some who complete the programs may
want to move into a formal apprenticeship scheme, others may just want to acquire the skills to
obtain employment.

The School Apprenticeship Link (SAL) program is also aimed at accelerating the acquisition of
technical skills, with students on the program spending two days a week on-the-job and 3 days in
school.

Fast Tracked Apprenticeships
The fast track approach gives mature aged people with industry experience the opportunity to
have their current skills formally recognised through an approved apprenticeship program, whilst
also providing an opportunity for the industry and training providers to develop a more
collaborative training delivery arrangement.

The Fast Track Apprenticeship program targets people with experience in these industries, and
delivers training to the intent of the relevant Industry Training Package, ie workplace training.
Essentially the Fast Track Apprenticeships Program is a self-paced program supported by the
employer and RTO.

The difference between this program and a normal 4 year term apprenticeship being that given
the participants‘ experience, their assumed maturity and the different method of skill
development, the participant should be able to demonstrate competency to the required level
over a shorter period of time.
 For an applicant to be eligible to enter this program the following conditions must be satisfied:
 the applicant has proven industrial experience in the chosen vocation;



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 a four year apprenticeship agreement is entered into with the employer; no credit is allowed up
     front;
  the Registered Training Organisation (RTO) conducts an initial skills assessment to determine
      appropriate skills recognition and the formal training required to achieve the certificated
      trade outcome;
  the Training Plan Outline (TPO) is developed with the employer and the credit transfers or
      Recognition of Current Competencies (RCC) are acknowledged in the registered TPO; and
  when all ‗off-the-job‘ training is completed and the employer deems the apprentice competent
    to industry level and standard, the apprentice then applies to the ATSN for consideration
    of a Reduction of Term to the apprenticeship.

If all components required to meet the Industrial Training Act have been met, the ATSN will
then issue the apprentice with his/her Trade Certificate.Eligible employers will receive all current
employer incentives.
 The Metals Industry Trades eligible for this program include:
      Fabrication (Boilermaking, Welding);
      Mechanical (Mechanical Fitting, Machinists, Plant Mechanics); and
      Electrician (‗A‘ Grade Electrician with Instrumentation skills) (I to E).
 Automotive Industry Trades eligible for this program include:
      Autobody Refinisher (Painting) (Vehicle Building)
      Autobody Repairer (Panel Beating)
      Engineering Tradesperson (Automotive) (Heavy)
      Engineering Tradesperson (Automotive) (Light)
      Automotive Electrical Fitting
 Hospitality Industry Trades eligible for this program are:
      Commercial Cookery

Manufacturing, mechanical and services industry
The use of RPL processes applied in the early stages of the apprenticeship is a key feature of
these fast-track apprenticeships. RPL is awarded when the apprentice can demonstrate trade level
competence, regardless of how it has been acquired (for example, via formal or informal training,
paid or unpaid work experience, voluntary work and life experience. RPL skills assessments will
be conducted by the RTO very early in the apprenticeship).

SWAN TAFE at Thornlie campus has employed a specialist workplace assessor (a boilermaker
who has owned his own business for 20 years) to undertake RPL assessments for their
engineering programs (including that for boilermakers, fitting mechanics, electricians, fitting
machinists, welders etc). Once an existing employee has been identified for the ‗fast-track
apprenticeship program‘ the assessor will go out and assess the apprentice on-the-job for the
purpose of allocating some RPL credits. To obtain RPL for workplace competencies apprentices
must provide evidence to substantiate the claims for RPL. This can be done by having a
nominated person in the workplace to take photos of the apprentice doing his job, or by
providing references or testimonials from employers, work samples, videos or photographs of
work, on-job assessments, written assignments, reports, relevant course, certificates, letters of
support from previous employers, performance management records, and pay slips or other
records of employment.


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The training provider assessor will also question the apprentice about how apprentices have
approached a certain task. He will also observe how the apprentice goes about completing a task
and using different forms of equipment. Once the apprentice has been assessed and any RPL
credits awarded, the apprentice is placed into a stage 1, stage 2 or stage 3 class of apprentices.
From then on he or she is treated like any other apprentice.

Automotive
The fast-track apprenticeship program in automotive trades also provides opportunities for
mature aged workers who have been working or have experience in the automotive industry to
achieve a trade certificate.

Construction
In-depth up-front training has been used to accelerate the acquisition of skills and completion of
apprenticeships in areas of skills shortages in the Western Australian construction industry. For
example, a program which provides industry with workers who are able to lay bricks is the nine-
week bricklaying program. Here participants learn the basic bricklaying competencies and are
then employed in industry to work alongside a fully qualified tradespersons in laying bricks
(generally the inside rows of bricks in a double brick building). Participants will also get
recognition for any work that they have done, and will be provided with a statement of
attainment that can be added to if they undertake further units. The TradesStart program also
represents an industry-based solution to the skills shortages being experienced. In this program
individuals undertake a six-week intensive training course which includes Occupational Health
and Safety and other Certificate I modules from the Training Package.

School Apprenticeship Link (SAL) pilot
The School Apprenticeship Link pilot program is used to provide secondary school students
(generally starting in year 11) with a head-start in an apprenticeship or traineeship in the building,
motor trades, structured steel, and baking occupations. This works similarly to a regular
structured workplace learning program. Typically students will commence the program by
spending the two days per week of the first term of Year 11 at TAFE learning the basic hand
skills that are require for the trade or industry. The remainder of the time is spent completing
their regular Year 11 studies. In terms 2, 3 and 4 they will spend two days per week in an industry
work-placement. By term 4 students will have increased their skills levels in the occupation and
will also have decided whether on not they want to continue. If they do want to continue in the
industry they can then enter a formal apprenticeship and sign a four-year training contract. The
work they will have already done will be counted as pre-apprenticeship and this will be also
counted towards completion of the apprenticeship. There is currently a view to reduce the
nominal term of the apprenticeship in the construction trade to 3 years.

The Metals Industry Working Group of the Skills Formation Taskforce in Western Australia has
obtained industry agreement to reduce expected durations in the engineering (metal fabrication,
mechanical, aircraft maintenance technicians), and ship-wrighting and boat building trades from 4
years to 3.5 years. It has as yet to discuss reducing durations for the electrical, jewellery,
toolmaking and jig-making (metal furniture) and clock and watchmaking trades.


5. Fast-tracking in South Australia
All trade apprenticeships in South Australia are either three or four years duration with provision
for early sign-off when at least 75% of the term of the contract has been completed. There is


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also provision for early sign off prior to completion of 75% of the term of the contract if there is
an exceptional and compelling reason to do so. In 2004 unpublished successful completion data
indicated that about 24% of the total apprentice and trainee completions are signed off at an
earlier date to the nominal term of the contract.

However many industries in the state are looking at increasing acceleration through the
apprenticeship by making better use of Recognition of Prior Learning processes. A number of
pilot projects have been implemented to speed up the completion of apprenticeships. (Appendix
C also provides details on strategies developed in the Childcare industry.)

Engineering industry
The Engineering Employers Association of South Australia Group Training Scheme has
implemented an Accelerated Company Training apprenticeship in conjunction with willing host
employers, to enable apprentices to be signed off in 3 years if they meet the required
competencies. In this program apprentices who are selected for the program sign a contract of
training for 4 years. However, their off- the- job training is accelerated so that all modules are
completed within 24 to 28 months. The on-the-job training is also accelerated by working with
the apprentice and the host employer to generate a range of tasks which will give the apprentice
opportunity to acquire the relevant competencies to the required standard. For example, the
apprentice may be asked to undertake overhauls of different machinery in the workshop. This
enables groups of competencies to be clustered and to be assessed as the task is being completed.
Assessment follows recognised assessment practice and the apprentice is tested for both practical
skill and underpinning knowledge. Once the apprentice has completed the required competencies
and the RTO signs off on the assessments, and the host employer agrees that the apprentice is
performing to industry standards then an application is made for early sign off. Most of the
apprentices in the program will complete their apprenticeships between 36 and 42 months. One
high flyer has completed the apprenticeship in 36 months.

Funding
User Choice funding is used for the program. However, should an apprentice come in with pre-
vocational studies which reduce 12 months off the study requirements, then the GTC will not be
eligible for User Choice funding for commencement.

Automotive apprenticeships: light vehicles
The Commercial Motor Industries (CMI) Toyota fast-track apprenticeship program started off in
2003 with the opening of its Technical Training Centre. In 2005 it had 26 apprentices. Like all
apprentices in South Australia apprentices in this program sign on for a nominal duration term of
four years. They will undertake 12 months of up-front training in the technical training centre
and TAFE. The technical training centre is dedicated to the training of apprentices in the
standards required to meet Occupational Health and Safety conditions, workshop practice,
Toyota-specific skills and knowledge, and personal presentation. The technical training centre
also supports with supplementary information and practice, the training that apprentices
undertake at the TAFE college.

 During the first year the apprentices will complete the core modules which represent the 1 st and
2nd years of off-the-job training. During the first 12 months apprentices will spend 6 weeks with a
Toyota dealer that is closest to their home. During their second year they will complete the third
year off-the-job program and will work full-time with a dealer. They will also attend the technical
training centre to supplement their TAFE training, and Toyota to undertake the Toyota
Recognition program.


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During their program the competencies of apprentices are checked off in their CBT log book.
The signing off of competencies in any one area will also take into account the feedback from
significant workplace supervisors and personnel. For example, the signing off of competencies
achieved will include feedback from the:
  workshop leading hand to confirm that the apprentice did not require assistance in
     demonstrating the competence
 workshop controller to confirm that the apprentice has written up the job card appropriately
 customs relations officer to confirm that no complaints were reported about the apprentice‘s
     work
 Technical Training Manager to indicate that the apprentice has met all the audit requirements
Once the apprentice has shown that all the competencies have been met to industry-level
standards of a tradesperson then his apprenticeship will be signed off early. To date there has
been one apprentice who has been signed off after 2 years 7 months and 12 days, another after 2
years 9 months, another after 3 years and the remainder will be signed off when they become
ready.

Automotive apprenticeships: heavy vehicles
In the Commercial Motor Vehicles (CMV) program for heavy vehicles (for example, trucks and
trailers) apprentices will sign a training contract with the company for four years. In their first
year they will spend time in the training centre at Regency Park and at TAFE completing the first
and second years of their off-the-job training program. In their second year they will undertake
the third year of their studies.

Apprentices will spend 12 weeks of their first year undertaking in-house training at the training
centre and TAFE. At the end of these 12 weeks apprentices are placed in dealerships for the
remainder of the time and will come back into the training centre to complete their off-the-job
training throughout the year. TAFE lecturers will come and deliver the training on-site and use
the materials that have been developed by the CMV team to reflect equipment used currently in
industry. Apprentices from Volvo and Hino dealerships will join the CMV apprentices.
Competencies achieved and modules completed are signed off during the program as they are
assessed and apprentices can demonstrate competent performance to industry standards.

During the second year apprentices will also attend TAFE to complete the third year course of
modules. During the third year apprentices will spend the whole year in their dealership
workshops. When apprentices have all the competencies required and the company believes that
they have achieved tradesperson status then the company will apply for early sign off.

Hospitality
The hospitality apprenticeships in South Australia are also based on a four-year contract. In the
model being conducted in conjunction with Regency TAFE lecturers have a adopted a case
management approach to the supervision of apprentices. Here they will visit the apprentice in the
workplace and make a decision about the contents and quality of the menu he/she is working
with, the tasks that the apprentice must undertake. In doing so they arrive at a profile of the
apprentice and identify what skills are currently practised on-the-job and which skills need to be
developed further. A program based on this profile will provide the training in areas that are
required by each apprentice. If the apprentice is working at a higher level of performance then
the off-job competencies can be signed off earlier. If the employer believes the apprentice is able
to demonstrate competence in the on-the-job components earlier than the nominal duration of
the contract then applications can be made for early sign off.


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There is also a full-time commercial cookery program where all the Certificate III requirements
can be completed in six months. The individual can then get a job in the industry for two years
and acquire trade-equivalent papers.


6. Fast-tracking in Tasmania
Fast-tracking of apprenticeships in Tasmania comes under the TradesExpress program, which is
still under development. There are as yet no specific guidelines for the TradesExpress program.
However, a range of alternatives are being considered.

Mature age workers
When workers are identified for an apprenticeship their current competencies will be assessed by
the RTO (generally TAFE). As well as being used to award RPL this process will also identify any
gaps in competencies and levels of competencies that need to be addressed. Once this has been
done they will go to the relevant training team who will conduct and assess the training. This may
comprise a work-based training project, or attending classes or practical workshops.

New entrants
There is currently a process in place whereby TAFE and industry bodies are investigating the
viability of shortening the duration of contracts by providing more intensive off-the-job and on-
the-job training. This process is aimed at collaborating with industry in identifying the most
appropriate training model for their particular needs.

Carpentry and Joinery apprenticeships
This program is an accelerated trades recognition and training program for mature age workers,
and new entrants to the workforce in areas of skills shortage and areas of demand. It was
established in response to concerns expressed by the Tasmania Master Builders‘ Association and
the Housing Industry Association.

It is based on an intensive up-front training model where apprentices will be able to complete the
training required in four blocks of nine months. Traditionally the industry has just supported the
signing of a four-year contract, but will be prepared to look at introducing a training contract of 3
years nominal term duration. There is however union resistance to the fragmentation of full
qualifications.


7. ‗Fast-tracking‘ in the Australian Capital Territory
The concept of ‗fast-tracking‘ in its pure sense is not used in the ACT. They use the strategies
already available under the CBT framework to acknowledge the achievement of competencies as
this occurs and to accelerate the completion of the apprenticeship in shorter time frames than the
normal four-year term duration.

Construction
Apprentices in the construction industry (carpentry, wall and floor tiling, plastering, painting and
decorating, brick and block laying, and plumbing) sign a four-year contract, however they can
complete the apprenticeship in a shorter time frame if they are deemed competent. For example
carpentry apprentices who are employed by the Construction Industry Training and Employment


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Association (CITEA) group training company will come into the training centre when they
commence their apprenticeships and will be involved in 8 weeks up-front training. During this
time will undertake the necessary preliminary knowledge-based units in a simulated environment.
During the first two weeks of this up-front training apprentices are not paid and undertake 80
hours of life skills training which lies outside the training that will be delivered according to the
training plan. They will get their Senior First Aid Certificate and the Occupational Health and
Safety competencies that are required to get their blue card to be able to work in the industry.
This life skills component also makes use of psychologists who help trainees develop skills to
face times when they feel overwhelmed by issues in the workplace or in life. (Each field officer
and trainer with the CITEA has undertaken suicide awareness programs, and all officers have
been taught how to identify any potential problems as they make their regular visits. CITEA has
implemented this program in conjunction with OzHelp Foundation.)

At the six week mark they are sent out to host employers. They are then brought back to the
training centre in one-week blocks over the remainder of the first year. During this time they will
have completed the units of competency normally completed in Year 1 and Year 2 of the
apprenticeship. In the second year apprentices will complete the units of competency usually
done in Year 3 of the apprenticeship. They will come to the training centre for blocks of 8 weeks
throughout this second year. This training will include building full houses, stairs or other things
in groups. In-between blocks of training apprentices will go back to their employers to
consolidate their learning. A field officer will visit apprentices to sign them off (if they have
achieved all the competencies). Apprentices will then go into full-time employment as fully
qualified carpenters (that is, with an AQF Certificate III and their indentures completed). A
typical apprentice who has achieved their competencies in this way can be signed off after three
years.

The intensive up-front training approach is used to make sure that by the time apprentices move
into a work situation with host employers they have some of the fundamental skills, practices,
underpinning knowledge, and industry culture habits (appropriate dress, punctuality, teamwork
skills) required by employers.

The Master Builders Association Group Training Scheme also implements the CBT approach to
training to sign off apprentices once they have achieved all the required competencies. Their
program for bricklaying apprentices comprises up-front intensive training in theory and practical
skills for the first 3 months. By this time they are able to lay 150 to 200 bricks a day. They will
then go out into industry for 6 to 7 months. They will then come into the training centre to
complete a one-week block of modules, after which they will then go out into industry for
another six months. They will return to the training centre for a final block of six to 8 weeks. At
the end of this time (between 20 and 24 months) they can be signed off if they have met their
competency requirements.

This program is a trial program if this works then the company will be looking to apply similar
strategies for plastering, tiling and painting apprenticeships.

Certificate IV and Diploma Programs
CITEA has also established cadetship programs to address skill shortages in the para-
professional building occupations by implementing the AQF IV qualifications in Contract
Administration and Supervisor in Building Construction. Cadetships are also available for
individuals who would like to go on to university. In their first year they will work in industry and
attend training off-site for two days every three weeks. After 12 months they will move into their
second year to gain their Certificate IV qualification. In the third year they are able to do the
diploma and the advanced diploma in Construction Management. This will enable them to get
professional membership of a professional organisation, and move into a degree program, pay no


133                Addressing barriers to the employment and training of traditional trades apprentices and trainees
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HECS and be paid as they complete their education. There is also the opportunity for trade
apprentices to undertake 12 months of the trade qualification and if they are selected to move
into the 2nd year of the cadetship program, that is into the Certificate IV program.

For those who wish to complete their four year apprenticeship, and get their trade qualifications
there is the opportunity for them to move into the cadetship program at the end of their training.
If they are successful they can complete a trade, a diploma and an advanced diploma and move
into a degree program. They are able to acquire a residential building licence on completion of
their trade and obtaining a Certificate IV qualification. They may acquire a commercial A class
licence on completion of advanced diploma.


8. Fast-tracking in the Northern Territory
The Northern Territory uses the Competency-Based Training and Assessment model to ensure
that individuals are able to complete apprenticeships as soon as they have achieved the on and
off-job competencies to the required standards. In this way, any apprenticeship in the Northern
Territory can be fast-tracked and is not tied to a fixed completion date. Areas of skill shortage
which attract additional assistance in the form of Northern Territory Government apprenticeship
incentives includes the majority of the traditional trades. The Northern Territory Government
runs from time to time pre-employment programs to meet specific industry needs. These
programs tend to be project or community based. For example the Northern Territory
Government recently funded a training program involved in a timber plantation on the Tiwi
Islands. Individuals who completed the training program entered into an apprenticeship in
Forest & Forest Products.


Fast-tracking in other industries
I. New South Wales

Hairdressing apprenticeships
The hairdressing sector and TAFE have come together to encourage mature age workers and
those with hairdressing industry experience to return to the industry. Students will undertake all
their off-the-job training up front in the first 12 months. This is accompanied by time spent in
work placements in commercial salons. In their second year they receive on-the-job training
through the salon run by one of the TAFEs. Those who complete the course qualify as a
hairdresser. If they over the age of 21 years they can even start their own salon.

Childcare programs
Once again childcare is not a traditional trade or occupation of particular interest to this study,
there may be lessons for traditional trades in the mining industry. The Individual Pathways
Group was initiated in 2004 at TAFE NSW Sydney Institute‘s Petersham campus and two local
councils (Leichhardt and Marrickville) to explore the viability of accelerated training for childcare
workers with experience (Department of Education and Training New South Wales, 2005b). It
was based on the application of RPL.

Students wanting to undertake this program were asked to come to an information session where
the RPL process was explained to them, and they were asked to take RPL claim forms home and
complete their claims for RPL. They submitted these claims at the next meeting. Once processed
the RPL outcomes were used to structure an individualised program and training plan for their

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diploma qualifications. The acceleration was applied by having many of the modules required for
the diploma being assessed only in the workplace. Some modules required a self-paced learning
using flexible learning materials and combining this learning with workplace assessment. There
were other modules that required students to attend classroom training.

Directors of child care centres and team leaders were also asked to attend the information
session. Support from employers comprised:
 payment of TAFE NSW fees
 emotional support and encouragement
 practical workplace support in terms of altering staff rosters and putting on extra staff to enable
     students to speak with workplace assessors
 help with writing claims for RPL assessments

Because the only mode of assessment was workplace assessment, RTO supervisors had to be
especially aware of the need to be thorough in their assessment processes and documentation of
these. Particular use was made of questioning techniques to assess underpinning knowledge,
criterion-referenced descriptors for grading where required and feedback from workplace
supervisors. The Evidence Guide proforma was modified to take account of these requirements.




II. South Australia

Child-care Strategy
There is also a pilot project in place for up-skilling existing workers in child care centres in the
State. The project is a joint venture between the Department of Further Education,
Employment, Science and Technology (DFEEST), the Department of Education and Children‘s
Services (DECS) and the Department of Employment and Workplace Relations (DEWR) and
the sector. Funding is made available to the program through UserChoice funding administered
by the State.

The project has targetted existing workers in Childcare Centres which have had a history of
exemptions (currently about 78 of Centres have been exempted from having the appropriate
ratio of qualified staff to children). Its strategy is to place existing workers with no formal
childcare qualifications on contracts of training which lead to a Certificate III and or Diploma
qualification.

The Job Network refers jobseekers to the program and asked to attend an information session
which outlines the aims of the program and the responsibilities of participants should they decide
to participate. Once individuals decide to enter the program they are interviewed for suitability
for the program and if judged suitable are placed on a four-week pre-employment program.
During this program they undertake units from the Certificate III package. After this pre-
employment program they will be placed with employers for three days a week. During this time
employers can decide whether they want to take on the trainee for Certificate III program.

To date 60 recruits were referred to the program by the Job Network. Of these 39 came to an
information session. Of these 29 were selected and 25 finally entered the pre-employment
program.

Job seekers are eligible for training subsidies for both Certificate III and Diploma in Children‘s
Services. Trainees with health care cards can also be eligible for reduced training fees. Employers


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may be are eligible for Australian Government financial incentives for the Certificate III trainee.
This includes $1650 for commencement of the trainee (that is after months), $2750 for
completion. Employers in rural and regional areas get an extra $1100 incentive. In addition, rural
and regional employers (and not metropolitan employers) who decide to place an existing worker
on a traineeship will be eligible for subsidies that are available for the employers who put on a job
seeker in a traineeship.

Existing workers who are placed into a traineeship under this pilot will be eligible for State
training subsidies

All apprenticeships in South Australia are four years duration with provision for early sign-off
when at least 75% of the term of the contract has been completed. More reason there is
provision for early sign off above this level if there is a compelling reason to do so. About 15%
of the total apprentice completions are signed off at an earlier date to the nominal term of the
contract.

However many industries in the state (especially electrical and engineering trades) are looking at
increasing acceleration through the apprenticeship by making better use of Recognition of Prior
Learning processes. A number of pilot projects have been implemented to speed up the
completion of apprenticeships.




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  Appendix D
Perceived benefits and disadvantages of ‗fast-tracking‘
models
Table C1: Perceived benefits and disadvantages of ‘fast-tracking’ by industry sector

Benefits and Disadvantages             Printing       Childcare     Automotive        Engineering      Construction

Benefits
Apply CBT approach as intended         X
Achieve qualification in quicker       X              X             X                 X                X
time frame
Increase in pool of qualified and      X              X             X                 X                X
or licensed tradespeople for
industry
Alleviating skills shortage in         X              X             X                 X                X
industry
Accelerated access to full             X              X             X                 X                X
tradesperson wages for
individuals
Access to qualifications for people                   X             X                 X                X
with industry-specific expertise
and experience
Development of closer                                 X
relationships between industry
and RTO through more regular
workplace visits
Relevant and appropriate training                     X
Review of nominal term durations       X                            X                                  X
Increased morale                                      X                               X
Gain qualification quicker while                      X             X                 X
earning
More tradespersons increase in                                                        X
productivity
Less time away from job for                                                           X
apprentices and trainees
Disadvantages
Expense and cost recovery issues                                    X                 X
Maintaining tradesperson to                                         X
apprentice ratios
Attrition from accelerated program                                  X                 X
Selection of participant                                                              X
apprentices may not be suitable
Increase risk of poaching of                                                          X
tradespersons or employee
moving on once training
completed
Declining subsidies for RTOs if
increased use of RPL required
Increased maturity problems for        X                                              X
school leavers




137                     Addressing barriers to the employment and training of traditional trades apprentices and trainees
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 Appendix E
Federal and State Awards
IR arrangements under the federal awards system operate under the current Workplace Relations
Act 1996 and subsequent associated legislation. The Act requires federal awards to be simplified
so that they do not cover issues that can be better dealt with at the workplace. For example,
terms and conditions under current federal awards covers classifications of employees and skill-
based career paths, hours of employment for full-time employees (including rest breaks, notice
periods and variations to working hours), rates of pay (hourly rates of pay and annual salaries,
rates for juniors, trainees or apprentices, and rates of pay for employees under the supported
wage system, incentive based payments (other than tallies in the meat industry), piece rates, and
bonuses, annual leave and leave loadings, long service leave, personal leave and carer‘s leave
including sick leave, family leave, bereavement leave, compassionate leave, cultural leave and
other like forms of leave, penalty leave (including maternity and adoption leave), public holidays,
allowances, loadings for overtime, casual and shift work, penalty rates, redundancy pay, notice of
termination, stand-down provisions, dispute settling procedures, jury service, type of
employment (full-time, casual, regular part-time employment and shift work employees)
superannuation, pay and condition for outworkers, and anti-discrimination.

State and Territory Awards address similar matters as federal awards. However, they apply to
employers in a different way. Where State awards apply to every employer who employs a worker
in an industry or occupation covered by the award, federal awards can apply to an employer
when the employer is named as one of the parties to the award, the employer is a member of a
federally registered employer organisation named in the award, an employer buys a business
already identified in a federal award. In Victoria, the ACT and the Northern Territory the AIRC
can identify a common rule awards which can apply to all employees in a specific industry even if
the employer has not been named in the award.


Australian Workplace Agreements
There are specific requirements that apply to the making of AWAs. For example an AWA must
not disadvantage employees (in comparison of what would be available to them under the
relevant award or legislation). This is referred to as the no disadvantage test. Employers must
provide employees with a clear explanation of what the agreement means before the employee
signs the agreement, and the employee must receive a copy of the AWA 14 days before signing
the agreement for existing workers and five days for new workers. The AWA arrangement allows
employers to offer different agreements to comparable employers provided they can show they
did not act unfairly or unreasonably. Where AWAs do not include anti-discrimination provisions
and dispute resolution arrangements, those arrangements available in model agreements will
apply. The terms and conditions of any State award or State Agreement that would otherwise
apply to the employee‘s employment, do not apply to the AWA during its lifetime.

There is major opposition from unions about the move to encourage more individual agreements
especially in terms of young people having to negotiate terms and conditions with employers.

There are more moves to simplify the structure of awards and agreements. The current Work
Place Relations Amendment (Work Choices) Bill (Australian Government 2005) is being debated


138                Addressing barriers to the employment and training of traditional trades apprentices and trainees
                                                                                             in the minerals industry
with an intention to replace the conditions that are available under the existing Act and its
associated legislation. The intention is to create one national workplace relations system and to
simplify awards and agreements. In terms of training of apprentices and trainees the reforms
propose arrangements which will enable the increased uptake of school-based apprentices and
trainees in states and under awards which have limited their employment.




139               Addressing barriers to the employment and training of traditional trades apprentices and trainees
                                                                                            in the minerals industry
Appendix F:
Base full-time weekly wages for apprentices and trainees
Table E1: Base full-time weekly wages for apprentices and trainees under NSW state awards

               First Year                Second Year                 Third Year                 Fourth Year




               Apprentice.   Trainee     Apprentice.    Trainee      Apprentice.    Trainee     Apprentice.    Trainee
               $ per         $ per       $ per          $ per        $ per          $ per       $ per          $ per
               week          week        week           week         week           week        week           week
Electricians   209.05        240.9       283.70         322.8        409.80         451.6       470.50         495.4
(award code
293)
Metal,         242.80                    318.00                      433.70                     508.8
Engineering    (junior)                  (junior)                                               (junior)
                                                                     (junior)
and
               406.00                    484.40                                                 523.6 0
associated                                                           501.10
               (adult)                   (adult)                                                (adult)
industries                                                           (adult)
(award code
039)
Building       231.00        255.90      327.70         364.90       426.10         466.10      496.10         521.30
Construction                 (junior)    (junior)       (junior)     (junior)       (junior)    (junior)       (junior)
               (junior)
award code                   358.70      365.60         370.80       430.80         470.20      499.00         523.70
001            357.40
                                                        (adult)      (adult)        (adult)
               (adult)       (adult)     (adult)                                                (adult)        (adult0
(building
trades)


Civil          275.80                    383.60                      470.90                     553.20
Engineering    (junior)                  (junior)                    (junior)                   (junior)
Construction                             $387.60
Carpenters     360.30                                                474.90                     554.60
                                         (adult)
               (adult)                                               (adult)                    (adult)




140                Addressing barriers to the employment and training of traditional trades apprentices and trainees
                                                                                             in the minerals industry

								
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