Victorian Government Disqualifies Unfit Employers from Hiring Automotive Apprentices

A number of employers in the automotive industry have been disqualified from hiring apprentices, following a Victorian Registration and Qualifications Authority (VRQA) investigation into low quality training.

Minister for Training and Skills, Steve Herbert said the disqualifications followed an investigation of 115 employers in the automotive industry that checked whether 160 apprentices were being properly supervised and trained.

The quality of training plummeted under the former Liberal Government’s cuts to the vocational education and training (VET) system.

Eight employers in Dandenong, Burwood, Albion, Campbellfield, Mitcham, Preston, Sunshine North and Glen Iris were disqualified from hiring apprentices. 60 training contracts between employers and apprentices were cancelled and a further 39 contracts were voluntarily cancelled.

The apprentices were all enrolled with a common training provider and those wanting to continue their apprenticeship have been offered support to continue their training with another provider.

Problems uncovered by the VRQA investigation included:

  • poor supervision of apprentices
  • inappropriate work tasks or facilities
  • limited evidence of training, including a lack of contact with the registered training organisation
  • apprentices not being released to attend formal training, or not being paid to attend training.

The Andrews Labor Government’s recently announced Review of Quality Assurance in Victoria’s VET System will recommend a new framework, so all training providers that deliver government-funded training meet quality standards. This will feed into the Mackenzie Review which will recommend a model of sustainable, high quality training across the training sector.

This year VRQA will conduct regulatory campaigns targeting specific qualifications and occupations and will be on the lookout for inadequate supervision, work or duties that don’t match the qualification an apprentice is enrolled in and employers who don’t release apprentices to attend training or pay them to attend training.

Quotes attributable to Minister for Training and Skills, Steve Herbert

“Apprentices working in the automotive industry need to gain the required skills and knowledge to conduct mechanical work. It’s about public safety.”

“The Andrews Labor Government is focused on giving people the best education and training possible, so they can get the job they want.”

“Unlike the previous Liberal Government’s light touch approach, which failed to crack down on low quality training, the Labor Government will restore faith in the quality of our training system by introducing more rigorous quality control of providers.”

“The Andrews Labor Government will not tolerate inadequate supervision and training of apprentices. Employers need to do the right thing.” Media Contact: Jessica Rath 0417 655 803 | jessica.rath@minstaff.vic.gov.au

Facts

  • Many of the apprentices that had their training contracts cancelled were not working as automotive technicians. They have continued working at the same employer but are not interested in recommencing an apprenticeship.
  • Australian Apprenticeship Centres are supporting affected apprentices who wish to continue their apprenticeship training with other training providers.
  • The VRQA has worked with unions, the automotive industry and relevant State and Commonwealth Government agencies.
  • Any apprentice or trainee with concerns about lack of supervision or training can call the VRQA on 1300 722 603.