Training contracts and training plans are important parts of your apprenticeship or traineeship. It pays to understand what they are and how they affect you.

Your training contract is the legal foundation of your apprenticeship or traineeship

Stage 1 – when you agree to an apprenticeship or traineeship with a registered employer, you sign up to a training contract.

Stage 2 – you negotiate your training arrangements and complete a training plan with your chosen training provider and employer. Your training provider helps you complete your training plan.

Stage 3 – you and your employer use an Apprenticeship Network Provider to lodge your training contract, which will be assessed by Regulation and Contract Management.

Stage 4 – you go to work, attend off-job training, complete your qualification and demonstrate the skills in your workplace – exactly as laid out in your training contract and training plan.

Stage 5 – you complete your apprenticeship or traineeship when you and your employer agree you are competent in your trade or vocation, and submit an application to Regulation and Contract Management to complete the training contract. Your training provider must also have issued the qualification you obtained through your training contract.

Stage 6 – you apply to Regulation and Contract Management to complete your training contract. If you are an apprentice, once your completion application is approved you will receive your trade certificate. If you work in a licensed trade you will be contacted by Consumer and Business Services upon completion of your training contract with instructions to apply for your trade licence.

Stage 7 – you start your career in your chosen field, fully qualified. Before long you consider taking on an apprentice to pass on your skills – which begins with a training contract and a training plan.

What is a training contract?

If you want to undertake an apprenticeship or traineeship you will need to sign a training contract.

This is a legal contract which shows that you and your employer have come to an agreement on your work and training arrangements. Some of the things you will have agreed upon include:

  • the qualification you are working towards
  • how long it will take to complete
  • the number of hours in training and employment provided each week
  • your obligations to each other
  • what to do if you have a problem
  • the off-job and on-job training arrangements.

A training contract needs to be signed by you, your employer and your parent or guardian (if you are under 18). By signing, you are agreeing with all the information contained in the contract and you are bound by it.

Your Apprenticeship Network Provider helps you and your employer to reach an agreement and it draws up the training contract.

The contract is submitted to Regulation and Contract Management for assessment and approval.

Regulation and Contract Management must be advised of any changes agreed to after the lodgement. If for any reason Regulation and Contract Management does not approve the training contract, you will be advised in writing.

What is a training plan?

A training plan describes the formal off-job training you will do with a training provider as part of your apprenticeship or traineeship.

The training plan will include:

  • the core and elective units that you will be studying as part of your application
  • the training provider who will be delivering the training
  • whether training will be delivered on-job or off-job, or a mix of both (under some traineeships the training is done wholly on-job)
  • where and when the training will occur.

The training plan is negotiated between you, your employer and your chosen training provider.

It requires the signatures of your training provider, your employer and you, as well as your parent/guardian (if you’re under 18). You will also need the signature of your school principal if the training contract is school-based.

The two documents – the training contract and the training plan – must be submitted to Regulation and Contract Management. Once Regulation and Contract Management receives these documents, your training contract will be assessed and you will be advised of the outcome.

Successful completion of your training contract

Successful completion means:

  • you have completed the qualification delivered by the training provider shown on your training contract
  • you and your employer agree you have demonstrated the skills and knowledge in the workplace
  • you and your employer have indicated this agreement by signing and submitting a completion form.

The trade certificate issued to apprentices signifies you have completed your trade training and you are now a competent, qualified tradesperson.

Trainees are sent a letter confirming the successful completion of their Training Contract.

What is a probationary period?

A probationary period is built into every training contract as a way of allowing apprentices or trainees and their employers to withdraw from the training contract if it’s not working for them.

If you wish to withdraw, you must advise your employer in writing. 

The employer must notify Regulation and Contract Management within seven days if either party withdraws during the probationary period.

The probationary period will generally be as follows for a training contract which commences on or after 1 February 2016:

Term of Training Contract     Probationary period
 Up to 24 months  60 days
 More than 24 months  90  days

Note that probationary periods vary depending on the trade or vocation, and cannot be extended.

Minimum hours

The minimum required hours required for employment and training is 15 hours per week for part-time apprentices or trainees who start on or after 1 February 2016, or 7.5 hours per week for school-based apprentices or trainees.

Apprentices or trainees who started before 1 February 2016 are not affected by this change, unless they apply to reduce their hours of employment and training on or after this date.

Averaging of hours

Apprentices and trainees can now average their hours of employment and training over a four week period. School-based apprentices or trainees may average their hours of employment and training over a three month period. For example, a school-based trainee could reduce their hours of employment and training for a 6 week period down to 5 hours per week, and then increase to 10 hours per week for the following 6 weeks.

You and your employer must agree in advance to average your hours, and develop a roster of your employment and training for the period. This must be documented and kept by your employer. See the Minimum Hours of paid employment and training guideline for more information.

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