Labor Government Disqualifies Unfit Employers From Hiring Commercial Cookery Apprentices

28 October 2015

More than 40 employers in the food services 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 76 employers to see whether 152 apprentices studying commercial cookery were being properly supervised and trained.

The VRQA visited dozens of workplaces including takeaway food stores, fish and chip shops, sushi and noodle bars and bakeries.

As a result of the investigation, 45 employers have been disqualified from hiring apprentices and 93 training contracts between employers and apprentices were cancelled, including 29 voluntary cancellations.

38 of the disqualified employers were located in the Melbourne metropolitan area, with seven in regional areas – Avoca, Bacchus Marsh, Echuca, Kilmore, Shepparton, Traralgon and Wallan.

A number of RTOs identified in the investigation with Government funding contracts are currently being examined by the Department of Education and Training.

Problems uncovered by the VRQA, which regulates apprenticeships and traineeships, included:

  • poor supervision of apprentices,
  • inappropriate work tasks or facilities,
  • apprentices not being released or paid to attend formal training.

The majority of apprentices caught up in the investigation were already working at these businesses and the action taken by the VRQA should not affect their employment.

The Andrews Labor Government is determined to restore student and industry confidence in the training sector.

We’re investing $30 million over three years to increase contract compliance including more onsite audits and new tougher contracts for training providers. This follows our $9 million blitz announced in June to remove low quality training providers from the sector.

Quotes attributable to Minister for Training and Skills Steve Herbert

“There is no place in the Victorian training system for Registered Training Organisations who take advantage of small businesses by tricking them into signing up apprentices.”

“The Andrews Labor Government is already cleaning up the training system through our $9 million quality blitz and with our $30 million to boost contract compliance.”

Reviewed 19 August 2020

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