The Fair Work Ombudsman (FWO) developed the National Apprenticeship Campaign (the campaign) to test and detect non-compliance with workplace laws for apprentices in Australia.
Around 60% of apprenticeships are cancelled or withdrawn within the first year, with reasons relating to the employment experience the most commonly cited grounds for non-completion. Specifically 33% of apprentices left their training arrangements due to relationship issues with their employer, poor working conditions or not being happy with the on-the-job training1. The FWO believes that early intervention through advice and assistance gives employers and their apprentices the best opportunity of a completed apprenticeship.
Other factors considered in the development of the campaign included:
- From 1 July 2014 to 30 June 2016, the FWO received 2241 Requests for Assistance from apprentices and trainees;
- 64% of apprentices and trainees who made these Requests for Assistance were under the age of 24; and
- 42 073 enquiries were made to the Fair Work Infoline in relation to apprentices and trainees between 1 July 2014 and 30 June 2016.
The campaign focused on businesses engaging apprentices, with an emphasis on businesses that engaged first year apprentices. Businesses were selected for inclusion in the campaign based primarily upon industries where the most Requests for Assistance were received by the FWO, including:
- Retail Services;
- Electrical Services;
- Automotive – Maintenance and Repair; and
- Hair and Beauty.
The FWO worked closely with the Department of Education in designing and developing the campaign. Department of Education data was vital in complementing the FWO’s internal data, ensuring the FWO could select the most appropriate businesses for inclusion in the campaign.
All businesses audited in the campaign employed apprentices. The FWO audited the compliance of 822 businesses that employed 2266 apprentices. Compliance was assessed with the Fair Work Act 2009 (the Act), the Fair Work Regulations 2009 (the Regulations) and the relevant award/agreement.
- Understanding the Non-Completion of Apprentices - National Centre for Vocational Education and Research