If you have an apprentice working at your company, or are thinking of taking on an apprentice there are a few things you need to be aware of. You need to know exactly what an apprenticeship involves, how to take on an apprentice and how to end the apprenticeship. Read on to find out everything you need to know when taking on an apprentice.

Apprenticeships are a great way for people to learn on the job, while gaining a qualification in their desired area of work. An apprenticeship combines practical work experience and structured training over a set period of time. Your apprentice will enter into a formal training contract with your company, which leads to a nationally recognised qualification. An apprentice spends most of their time in paid employment, which gives them the opportunity to learn practical skills and put them into practice. The rest of their time is spent in a registered training organisation (RTO) such as TAFE. Apprentices should be paid in accordance with the award wage. Please be aware that there has been an increase in wages for apprentices who commenced their apprenticeship on or after 1 January 2014.

When taking on an apprentice, you must remember to register them with the Australian Apprenticeship Centre within 28 days of employment. If you do not register them as an apprentice, you will have to pay them at the same rate you pay your qualified labourers. The apprentice also needs to register with an RTO such as TAFE. Training is treated the same as work and must be attended at all times. If you are concerned about your apprentice’s attendance, you are able to contact the RTO they are registered with to confirm.

There are costs associated with apprentices. You must reimburse your apprentice all costs related to their study, such as text books and course fees. The only time you do not have to reimburse your apprentice is when there has been unsatisfactory progress by the apprentice, or if you have paid all fees and textbook costs directly to the RTO. If you believe your apprentice has shown unsatisfactory progress you must outline your reasons for this.

To successfully end the apprenticeship, the RTO must confirm that the apprentice has successfully completed their formal training and is eligible to receive their nationally recognised qualification. You must also confirm that they have successfully completed all on the job training. If you wish, you are able to take on your apprentice as qualified laborer once they have received their qualifications. An apprenticeship can be cancelled before completion if your business no longer operates or there is a substantial change to your business circumstances, your apprentice is guilty of misconduct, or if you and the apprentice both agree to cancel the training contract. If the contract is broken before completion for any of the above reasons, the State Training Services must be informed of the cancellation within 14 business days.

If you currently employ apprentices, or are considering taking one on, make sure to consider all aspects before and during the contract. If you need any advice regarding apprenticeship agreements (whether new or existing), please contact one of our experienced lawyers here at the Quinn Group on (02) 9223 9166 or submit and online enquiry.