The training is too difficult for my apprentice/trainee

Is your apprentice or trainee having problems

  • concentrating on their learning material
  • passing their units of study
  • keeping up with other students
  • not performing at the expected standard in the workplace

Plus, he or she may be exhibiting poor behaviour at work, eg taking too many days off.

Any of these may be a symptom of a learning difficulty.

Signs of a learning difficulty

Does your apprentice

  • have a poor grasp of work skills
  • take longer to complete tasks
  • appear limited in the tasks they can undertake
  • require closer supervision?

Practical solutions

  • Provide extra workplace training from the learner’s supervisor.
  • Arrange for a 'work buddy' at work to give your learner extra help and advice.
  • Request additional tutorial support from your RTO to help with any special learning needs.
  • Extend the duration of the training contract to allow more time to complete the training (you must do this before the official completion date!).
  • Change all or some of your learner’s training electives to subjects that interest them more, and which they can pass.

It is also possible to change the Apprenticeship/Traineeship type and the level of qualification to something more appropriate.

  • You will need the learner to agree to this.
  • The change must suit your workplace.
  • Your training contract will need to be changed.

Seek advice

Any of the following can give you good advice on how to deal with an apprentice or trainee experiencing learning problems:

Your Australian Apprenticeship Centre

Your Registered Training Organisation

A Training Advisor from your local Training Services NSW Office

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Suggestions for preventing future problems with training

Make sure you recruit the right apprentice or trainee. Try to ensure that he or she

  • understands what is involved in the apprenticeship or traineeship you are offering
  • has the right level of education to cope with the training
  • has the appropriate physical skill for the work to be undertaken
  • has a genuine interest in the work.

Ensure that you know what your responsibilities and obligations are in the training of an apprentice or trainee.

Make sure that you (or the designated supervisor) have a good understanding of how to best supervise an apprentice or trainee.

Intervene early.


Assistance for an apprentice or trainee with a disability

For learners with a proven medical condition or a disability there is assistance available through the Disabled Australian Apprentice Wage Scheme (DAAWS) which can

  • provide the employer with a wage subsidy
  • pay the RTO to provide tutorial, interpreter and mentor help
  • reimburse the cost of approved workplace modifications.

Contact your Australian Apprenticeships Centre for advice on disability assistance.

Page last updated: 2 March 2021