COVID-19 Update

Training Services NSW (TSNSW), as part of the Department of Education, is monitoring COVID-19 in NSW. The pandemic is a rapidly changing situation and we thank you all for your cooperation and resilience.

Information for apprentices and trainees

TSNSW is committed to ramping up our efforts and working in collaboration with federal, state and local government to bring immediate help to apprentices and trainees through all the support and services available.

We are assessing various options and will continue to work with those affected on a case by case basis.

TSNSW's regional and metropolitan offices are able to provide support and information to impacted students, apprentices, trainees. Affected apprentices and trainees can contact Training Services NSW on 13 28 11. This call will be referred to your nearest TSNSW office and an officer will respond to your enquiry with guidance, advice or appropriate referral.

Apprentices and Trainees can use the CAPS program to find short or long term reassignment with a new employer.

The CAPS program is there to help Apprentices and Trainees find short or long term reassignment with a new employer.

Please also contact the CAPS program in cases of:

  • Lost employment due to COVID-19
  • Bert Evans Apprenticeship Scholarship recipients who have lost their employment
  • Recipients of Trade Support Loans
  • Apprentices and Trainees unable to continue training under current delivery arrangements
  • Apprentices and Trainees unable find a job in the same trade in their area
  • SBAT Apprentices and Trainees who have lost their employment

Information for Apprentices and Trainees who have been suspended, or lost their job completely:

  • Apprentices and Trainees not receiving the Youth Allowance (Apprentice) payment who have lost their job and are not receiving an income due to the COVID-19 can apply for the new Jobseeker payments.
  • Apprentices and Trainees seeking Jobseeker payments do not need to provide an employment separation certificate. This means that those apprentices that have had their apprenticeship suspended, but not terminated, are still be eligible for Jobseeker payments and the additional $550 Coronavirus Supplement.

Frequently asked questions

 Apprentices and Trainees can use the CAPS program to find short or long term reassignment with a new employer.

The CAPS program is there to help Apprentices and Trainees find short or long term reassignment with a new employer.

Please also contact the CAPS program in cases of:

  • Lost employment due to COVID-19
  • Bert Evans Apprenticeship Scholarship recipients who have lost their employment
  • Recipients of Trade Support Loans
  • Apprentices and Trainees unable to continue training under current delivery arrangements
  • Apprentices and Trainees unable find a job in the same trade in their area
  • SBAT Apprentices and Trainees who have lost their employment

Yes, Apprentices can continue training with their RTO.

We recommend that you contact your training provider to discuss other ways to undertake your training.

If you’re still having trouble, call one of our offices on 13 28 11.

Yes, on the understanding that this is not part of your apprenticeship or traineeship and as such is not subject to employment-related laws and conditions. The NSW Government will continue to fund your training if it is delivered by a Smart and Skilled Training Provider.

Please call us for more information on 13 28 11.

Generally yes.

Find out how to apply and if you’re eligible.


Information for Registered Training Organisations

TSNSW is actively working in collaboration with federal, state and local government to make information and advice available to Registered Training Organisations (RTOs).

We are constantly assessing the options available and will continue to work with affected RTOs on a case by case basis.

TSNSW's regional and metropolitan offices are able to provide support and information to impacted RTOs. Please call 13 28 11.

The Australian Skills Quality Authority (ASQA) has established an Info Line to support providers. Providers that are impacted by COVID-19 are encouraged to contact the ASQA Info Line on 1300 701 801 or at enquiries@asqa.gov.au to discuss adaptive measures.

Frequently asked questions

Training Services NSW will work with Providers to explore all possible options for the continuation of subsidised training. Please keep your Strategic Relationship Manager (SRM) updated on your circumstances so that they can explore how TSNSW can best support your organisation and its learners.

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.

If you are concerned about Smart and Skilled or ASQA contractual obligations, contact your Strategic Relationship Manager (SRM) so that we can explore how TSNSW can best support your organisation and its learners. You can also register a call to 13 28 11.

Please also follow normal eReporting requirements as per the Smart and Skilled Terms and Conditions. Technical support can be obtained from Training Market Customer Service by emailing: training.market@det.nsw.edu.au.

Please contact your SRM directly or contact 13 28 11 if you are concerned about:

  • Being closed temporarily due to a Coronavirus outbreak at your premises
  • Payments and financial caps
  • Data Clarification and submitting training activity data
  • sub-contracting or brokering arrangements – what to do if you are unable to continue the delivery of training
  • extending training end-dates
  • providing help to other RTOs if able to do so

ASQA has updated its website to include up to date information regarding any changes to reporting and other measures currently being considered due to COVID-19.

Training Market Customer Service can also assist with questions relating to submitting Training Activity Data, Commitment IDs.

We understand that due to current circumstances, Providers may not be able to fully utilise their Financial Cap.

Please advise your Strategic Relationship Manager (SRM)  if this applies to your organisation so that they can explore how TSNSW can best support your organisation and its learners. You can also register a call to 13 28 11.

SRMs will register the issue internally and Providers will not be penalised for future activity periods.

Yes. The Australian Government has placed certain restrictions on gatherings and businesses. Currently, these restrictions do not apply to education institutions.

It is ultimately up to individual RTOs to decide whether they remain open based on their own risk assessment of the situation. However, ASQA recommends that RTOs consider the development and delivery of remote (for example, online) training and assessment where they are able to, and delay face-to-face delivery for the time being.

Should your RTO continue to deliver face-to-face, you should make adjustments to the classroom to create more space between people, for example by ensuring desks/work stations are adequately separated (4 square metres).

RTOs should also consider increasing cleaning, particularly of classrooms, toilets, common areas, door handles and equipment. Any student who is unwell, or who is required to self-isolate, must not attend class and must be sent home.

The Australian Government Department of Health has released resources for employers and others to help stop the spread.

For further information for RTOs, please visit ASQA.

Mandatory work placement
Where work placement is mandatory, that placement may need to be deferred until such time that it can be conducted.

However, there are a range of actions that RTOs can take to mitigate some of the impact of the current situation on learners who need to undertake workplace hours. ASQA supports all RTOs (including those delivering to overseas students) in implementing these where they are able to:

  1. training – bring forward theoretical training across single or multiple units to continue learning,
  2. training – adjust the training and assessment strategy to continue to deliver units of competency that do not contain workplace hours,
  3. training – make use of simulated workplace environments to allow for practising of skills,
  4. training and assessment – where students are in different locations, make use of technologies such as video recording and Skype,
  5. assessment – where the training package allows, make use of simulated workplace assessment.

Where work placement has been partially completed, both students and the RTO should retain evidence of the placement completed to date, including any log books.

Assessments
Students may be able to undertake training in a simulated environment before going to a workplace to continue their learning or to conduct assessment, (when they are able to attend a workplace).

RTOs should consider the specific assessment conditions described in the assessment requirements of each unit of competency. In some instances, assessment requirements allow for assessment to be conducted in the workplace or a simulated environment. Where simulation is allowed, RTOs should review the specific training package requirements to be able to replicate the simulated environment.

Where assessment can be conducted only in the workplace, that component of assessment may need to be deferred until such time that it can be conducted. In these instances RTOs:

  1. should ensure students are aware of, and have a record of, the portion of assessment completed for the unit
  2. can adjust their training and assessment strategy to rearrange sequencing of delivery of units of competency
  3. should deliver an alternate unit of competency, (that does not require practical assessment, or where theoretical learning can be provided in part).

Further information from ASQA here.

Training should continue if possible. If this can happen in a safe alternative mode or simulated environment, Training Services NSW (TSNSW) will support this, and the associated ASQA advice.

If you or your students are unable to attend a workplace to conduct training or assessment, consideration could be given to how you can remotely observe the learner. For example:

  • use video recordings (from recording on a phone to more complex technologies), and
  • use Skype and other video conferencing software.

Assessors could view students’ participation in activities remotely, using the same observation checklists they have when on site, and can continue to make valid and sufficient judgements.

It may also be necessary to defer conducting the observations until such time as you can effectively undertake this process.

Further information on compliance arrangements.

ASQA also encourages any providers impacted by COVID-19 to contact their Info Line on 1300 701 801 or to email enquiries@asqa.gov.au to discuss any adaptive measures being considered.

Updates are available here.

Where possible you should make use of adaptive training modes, such as on-line training programs. 

Skype and other digital meeting platforms may be suitable to engage with learners who have self-isolated where face-to-face training is to be maintained.

You must ensure that good records are maintained for all training and assessment that has been conducted.

Discuss with your student other training and assessment options, including changing the mode of training delivery.

Training Services NSW will work with Providers to explore all possible options for the continuation of subsidised training.

We may also be able to assist with upskilling strategies in conjunction with other opportunities for employment.

There are also some financial support packages introduced by the Australian Government.


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.

Frequently asked questions

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

Options may include:

  • extending the term of the apprenticeship or traineeship
  • finding a new employer for the apprentice or trainee
  • changing the training mode to continue formal training
  • suspending or cancelling 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.

Also, please keep your Strategic Relationship Manager (SRM) updated on your circumstances so that they can explore how TSNSW can best support your organisation and its learners.

You can also register a call to 13 2811.

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.

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.


Information for students of TAFE NSW and other training providers

The safety and wellbeing of students is the top priority for the NSW Department of Education and we are working with Registered Training Organisations (RTO) to determine what best support is needed.

The impact of COVID-19 will mean some interruption to learning delivery. To ensure the safety and wellbeing of students as well as staff, TAFE NSW and other RTOs are taking proactive measures to limit the impact of COVID-19. A range of learning delivery methods are being introduced to enable students to continue on their path of learning.

TAFE NSW is pausing all training and educational delivery starting Monday 30 March and will re-commence classes on 27th April through connected and blended delivery methods. TAFE NSW students can contact 131 601 or visit the TAFE NSW website for more information.

TSNSW is encouraging students to stay safe in this challenging environment and stay engaged with learning. To understand the impact of COVID-19 on your individual situation, please make contact with your respective RTO for the latest information.

Frequently asked questions

Several training providers have reduced face to face and workplace deliver due to social distancing restrictions.

Some of these training providers have as a result converted their delivery to on-line and/or deferred delivery of some course content.

Please call your training provider to find out if they are still delivering training.

If your training provider is unable to provide assistance please call 13 28 11 to speak to our Training Services NSW staff.

TAFE NSW is pausing all training and educational delivery starting Monday, 30 March 2020.

For TAFE NSW to provide a quality educational experience for students in this dynamic and challenging environment we need to move to connected, online and distance delivery modes.

During the temporary pause, TAFE NSW  teaching teams will be working to get everything ready for classes to recommence on Monday, 27 April 2020, including preparing to use connected online learning where possible.

While TAFE is pausing its delivery, TAFE NSW remains open to maintain services to the community, including disability and technology access support.

Check www.tafensw.edu.au/coronavirus for the latest COVID-19 information at TAFE NSW.

We recommend that you contact your training provider to discuss other ways to undertake your training.

If you’re still having trouble, call one of our offices on 13 28 11.

Page last updated: 25 March 2020