COVID-19 Update - Information for organisations employing apprentices and/or trainees

TSNSW extends its support to all whose lives have been impacted by COVID-19, directly or indirectly. Please continue to stay safe and inform the Department on any matters that have the potential to impact you and/or the communities and businesses that you support.

The safety and wellbeing of students is the top priority for the NSW Department of Education and they are working with providers and industry to determine what best support is needed.

TSNSW's regional and metropolitan offices are able to provide support and information to organisations employing apprentices and/or trainees. Please call 13 28 11.

In addition, the Federal Government has, through the Federal Treasury, issued information detailing the Economic Response to the COVID-19 crisis including fiscal support and support for business investment.

General questions

Please contact us on 13 28 11 and one of our staff will assist you.

Options may include:

  • Your apprentice or trainee can proceed on paid leave.
  • Your apprentice or trainee could move from full time (FT) to part time (PT).
  • For a FT learner, you could look at PT suspension of training arrangement.
  • FT Suspension of the apprenticeship or traineeship.
  • Host out your apprentice or trainee to another employer for part of the time.
  • If formal training has been completed, consider completion of the apprenticeship/traineeship.
  • Cancellation of the apprenticeship or traineeship.

The Australian Government has announced support for businesses to manage cash flow challenges and retain employees.

Examples of support available include the JobKeeper Payment, wage subsidies for apprentices and trainees, boosting cash flow for employers and increasing the instant asset write-off.

Information on all financial assistance support available, eligibility and timing can be found here or call 13 28 46.

You can also call us on 13 28 11 to explore best how we can help support you and your learners.

In the first instance, speak to the training organisation to see if they can change their training or assessment modes.

If the training or assessment needs to be suspended, then then please call us on 13 28 11

In the first instance, speak to the training organisation to see if they can change their training or assessment modes.

If the training or assessment needs to be suspended, then then please call us on 13 28 11.

Where possible and appropriate, you MUST allow your apprentice or trainee to participate in formal training, and that training MUST occur during paid work hours.

Supervisory requirements for ANY apprentice or trainee to work from home (or elsewhere) should be considered on a case by case basis, taking into account such factors as:

  • Age of learners and previous industry experience eg. A school aged apprentice vs 50 yr old person doing frontline management
  • Vocation being undertaken eg. business vs avionics
  • Functions being undertaken eg. simple vs hard/technical/ high risk
  • Level of apprenticeship or traineeship eg. Diploma vs Cert II
  • Stage of apprenticeship or traineeship eg. 1st month of 1st year vs  3rd year

You need to consider these and other issues, including Duty of Care and OH&S obligations, when making this decision.

You must also meet your on the job training obligations when considering these arrangements.

You do NOT need to let the Department know about a change in training address.

Yes. The Way Ahead for Aboriginal People (mentoring program) remains open to all Aboriginal apprentices/trainees during COVID-19.

Please note that all Way Ahead mentors will be following the social distancing requirements, so mentoring will be conducted either over the phone or via Skype, Zoom etc.

Your Aboriginal apprentice or trainee can continue to contact their mentor at any time.

Yes. They can request a mentor by visiting our website and completing the request form.

Please note: to assist us with the referral request all fields marked with an asterisk (*) are required.

For further assistance email TS.Aboriginal.Services@det.nsw.edu.au or call 02 9242 1700.

Please note that all Way Ahead mentors will be following social distancing requirements, so mentoring will be conducted either over the phone or via Skype, Zoom etc.

Completions

If there has been a delay with the delivery of formal training, and your apprentice or trainee is unlikely to complete their training or assessments within the remaining term of the apprenticeship or traineeship, you and your learner can request an extension of term. However, we suggest that you wait to review the need for an extension until the last six months of the nominal training term.

To request an extension to the apprenticeship or traineeship term, please complete a variation request form and submit to Training Services NSW. If you have any questions, please call us on 13 28 11.

Yes. If you wish to delay this endorsement for whatever reason, speak to your RTO.

Suspensions

If there has been a delay with the delivery of formal training, and your apprentice or trainee is unlikely to complete their training or assessments within the remaining term of their apprenticeship or traineeship, you and your learner can request an extension of term. However, we suggest that you wait to review the need for an extension until the last six months of the nominal apprenticeship/traineeship term.

To request an extension to the apprenticeship or traineeship term, please complete a variation request form and submit to Training Services NSW. If you have any questions, please call us on 13 28 11.

If an apprentice or trainee has been stood down or terminated from their employment, they are eligible to apply for JobSeeker payments.

Generally, they will not be asked to produce evidence of being stood down or terminated. However, if required, you should provide a letter or some other form of evidence.

Note: They DO NOT require a letter to indicate that the apprenticeship or traineeship has been suspended or cancelled. A training contract status has nothing to do with eligibility for JobSeeker assistance. It’s all about employment status.

Yes. Please contact us on 13 28 11 for assistance.

Maybe. You need to have a good reason for this request. You should also note that there would likely be Ilegal and contractual implications and you may need to employ the “employee” under different rates of pay/conditions. If you are looking to do this, we suggest you first speak to one of our staff by calling 13 28 11. You should also seek further advice from FairWork Australia.

This flexibility is only available during COVID-19 to meet immediate management needs and to keep as many people in employment as possible. This provision WILL NOT be available under normal circumstances.

Training Plans

Yes. As long as there is an active apprenticeship or traineeship you should get a Training Plan within 12 weeks of approval of the apprenticeship or traineeship.

Yes. As long as there is an active apprenticeship or traineeship you should get an updated Training Plan showing your apprentice/trainee’s progress at least every six months.

Employment changes

Yes. They can continue to do their funded formal training with their approved Smart and Skilled RTO while they look for another employer.

Training changes

If your RTO is unable to deliver either class room or work-based training, you and your apprentice/trainee should talk to them about whether the training can be delivered by an alternative, acceptable mode of delivery e.g. online.

If your RTO is NOT able to provide an acceptable alternative mode, your options are:

  • to find another RTO that can provide suitable flexible delivery options; or
  • if you and your apprentice/trainee agree, you can suspend your formal training for up to six months (excluding SBATS). Note, suspension of formal training may require you and your apprentice/trainee to seek an extension to the training term at a later date.

Reminder, any formal training, whether it be in the classroom, on-the-job, or on-line, must be undertaken, with pay, within normal work hours.

If you have any questions, please call us on 13 28 11.

If this is a temporary change in delivery mode in response to COVID 19, you do NOT need to apply for a variation.

If this is permanent change, you need to complete a variation request.

School based apprentices and trainees (SBAT)

SBATs will be able to complete their days after 31 December of the HSC year.

For school based trainees (SBT), you and your SBT will need to seek an extension of term to allow for these required days.

For school based apprentices (SBA), your SBA will need to complete these days after 31 December of their HSC year, and before they commence Stage 2 of their apprenticeship.

Yes.

The employer, SBAT and school will need to look for an alternative RTO that may continue to deliver training and assessment services. Note, extended breaks in training for SBAT students may impact their achievement of the HSC. The student’s school must be notified in these instances.

If a student wants to suspend or cancel their SBAT, they need to liaise with their school to check the impact on HSC and ATAR eligibility.

Page last updated: 4 May 2020