Competency based completion of apprenticeships and traineeships in NSW

Issued: 4 June 2013

Updated: 13 November 2018

Nominal Terms

Apprenticeships and traineeships are approved for a nominal term during which the employer and apprentice or trainee are bound by their obligations under a training contract. The term is based on advice from industry about how long it may take an apprentice or trainee who is undertaking work-based training, as well as formal training through a training organisation, to gain the required level of skills. The training term may be reduced at the outset on application by the parties to take account of skills already held by the apprentice or trainee before commencing work with their employer.

Competency Based Completion

Apprenticeships and traineeships can be completed before the scheduled end date of the training contract if the apprentice or trainee has been assessed as competent and issued with a qualification by their training organisation. This is known as competency based completion. As for other types of variations to an apprenticeship or traineeship, competency based completion must be supported by both the employer and the apprentice/trainee. Where one of the parties supports competency based completion and the other party doesn't, Training Services NSW can assist them to negotiate an agreed completion date. Where necessary, disputes about competency based completion that cannot be resolved may be referred to The Commissioner under Section 39 of the Apprenticeship and Traineeship Act 2001 for determination.

Employer Consultation

At various times throughout the apprenticeship or traineeship, and before the qualification is issued, training organisations must liaise with the employer to confirm that he or she supports the training organisation's assessment of the apprentice' or trainee's level of skill.

The training plan sets out how training will be delivered and how and when skills will be assessed. It should specify how evidence will be gathered from the workplace to support skill assessments, as well as arrangements for reporting back to the employer about the progress of the apprentice or trainee. The training plan should give the employer confidence that their apprentice or trainee will only be assessed as competent when there is ample evidence, including evidence provided by them, to support this decision.

Employers who have concerns about the approach of the training organisation that is responsible for training their apprentice or trainee should contact that organisation to discuss their concerns in the first instance. If they are not satisfied with the response from the training organisation, they should then notify Training Services NSW.

RTO Data Lodgement

In January 2013, the Training Plan and Training Plan Guidelines were amended to include an obligation for RTOs to electronically lodge apprenticeship and traineeship completions data with the NSW Department of Industries. Data must now be lodged within 28 days of an apprentice or trainee being eligible to be issued a qualification. Completions data provided by RTOs may then be used to facilitate competency based completions.

Submitting requests for Competency Based Completion

Requests for competency based completion should be submitted prior to, or as soon as practicable after the requested completion date. They should also be submitted prior to the full term expected completion date (ECD). As with other variations, requests received AFTER the ECD will be considered on a case by case basis, but only if there are extenuating circumstances that warrant consideration.

Applications for Competency Based Completion

Competency Based Completion Application Form

Invitation from Commissioner for Vocational Training to consider Competency Based Completion

Training Services NSW may issue letters from the Commissioner to both parties inviting them to consider competency based completion if it has received advice from the training organisation that the apprentice or trainee is eligible to receive their qualification. Employers and apprentices/trainees can then take advantage of the offer to complete their training contract early. Alternatively, they may advise Training Services NSW that they want the apprenticeship or traineeship to continue until the scheduled end date. Each of the parties may express a different view about competency based completion, in which case Training Services NSW will attempt to negotiate an agreed completion date.

Importantly, employers and apprentices/trainees must respond to the Commissioner's letter within 21 days. If they fail to do so, their consent to competency based completion will be taken to have been given and the apprenticeship or traineeship will end on the date nominated on the letter.

More information on competency based completion.

Commissioner for Vocational Training

Page last updated: 19 February 2021