Supervising your apprentice or trainee

Appropriate supervision is a legal requirement under the industrial arrangements, the Apprenticeship and Traineeship Act, 2001 and the training contract.

Workplace supervisors are in a key position to maximise the success of training and therefore ensure the supply of skilled staff for the future.

A capable supervisor can make workplace training meaningful and enjoyable for both the supervisor and the apprentice and trainee.

Role of the supervisor

A supervisor is responsible for training a learner on the worksite in a day to day working environment.

The role of the supervisor is to:

  • act as mentor
  • be a role model
  • be familiar with the Training Plan and related training provided by the Registered Training Organisation (RTO) with workplace tasks
  • give clear and consistent instructions on work tasks
  • guide and support
  • monitor and keep records of progress
  • provide feedback and encouragement
  • liaise with the RTO and other relevant parties.

Induction to the workplace

A good induction is crucial in providing a basis on which the apprentice or trainee can build effective workplace relationships and also give them a clear understanding of what is expected of them.

The workplace induction and ongoing support of the apprentice or trainee is normally the job of the workplace supervisor.

An induction should include at least:

  • an overview of the business
  • the role of the apprentice/trainee in the organisation
  • expectations of all parties
  • occupational health and safety issues relevant to the worksite
  • the proposed training plan
  • the responsibilities and obligations under the training contract
  • administrative procedures
  • basic work rules, work conditions and provisions under the award or industrial instrument
  • an introduction to key personnel
  • who to go to if there is a problem

Six steps to effective mentoring

Supervisors can follow a simple six step process in mentoring an apprentice or trainee:

  1. explain the task, its purpose and why it's done
  2. explain all the steps in completing the task
  3. demonstrate the task and explain how it will be assessed and recorded
  4. provide sufficient opportunity to practice
  5. provide encouragement, feedback and help to organise assessments with the RTO
  6. when a competency has been achieved, ensure the apprentice or trainee is advised and the RTO confirms competence.


Assessment means:

  • collecting evidence about the apprentice's or trainee’s skills and knowledge,
  • comparing the evidence to a set of industry-based standards, and
  • ensuring that standards are met based on the evidence gathered.

A workplace supervisor won’t be required to make decisions on an apprentice or trainee’s competence - that is the RTO’s job - but the supervisor will be required to provide their opinion and provide evidence they have gathered on their ability to do the job.

Record keeping

As the workplace supervisor you will need to keep the following documents:

  • records of on-the-job experience and workplace competence, as agreed with RTO
  • results of any on-the-job training undertaken with the RTO
  • copy of the full Training Plan prepared by the RTO
  • letter from Training Services NSW approving the training contract
  • copy of the training contract
  • records of time worked and wages paid
  • copy of the industrial award or agreement under which the learner is employed.

Training for workplace supervisors - Video series

It is important that workplace supervisors have the necessary skills to oversee the on-the-job training for an apprentice or trainee.

  • Training Services NSW has designed a video series to assist workplace supervisors to help their learners to successfully complete their apprenticeships and traineeships. Watch the Supervising Your Apprentice or Trainee - Video series now.
  • Your Registered Training Organisation may also be able to assist with training for your supervisors and team leaders.
  • A range of resources, listed below, have been developed to help you do this training within your workplace.


Training Services NSW is always available to assist with any supervision related issues that may arise - phone 13 28 11 to be directed to your nearest Centre.

Page last updated: 2 March 2021