From 1 January 2007 some apprenticeships will have shorter durations.
The duration (or nominal term) for apprenticeships in hairdressing, hospitality, food processing and some automotives trades has been cut from four years to three.
A range of other apprenticeships have new 'expected durations' of 42 months, instead of 48 months. Within this time, an apprentice could be expected to achieve full competency in their trade, and become qualified.
These trades include bricklaying; carpentry; solid plastering; wall and floor tiling; and some offsite construction trades such as shopfitting, joinery, stairs and sign-writing.
Fully implementing competency based training
All apprenticeships and traineeships in Queensland are practised under competency based training.
Competency based training enables an apprenticeship or traineeship to be completed once the apprentice or trainee, employer and training provider agree that competence has been reached - regardless of time served.
This means that while the training contract has an agreed start date and nominal term, as apprentices and trainees achieve competency through training they can progress through their apprenticeship or traineeship.
The Department of Education, Training and Employment is taking a proactive approach to the monitoring of training delivered to apprentices and trainees to ensure competency based training is being fully utilised.
Monitoring of training will ensure that:
the apprentice or trainee, their employer and the training provider are equipped to resolve training issues
the apprentice or trainee is progressing under competency based training arrangements.
The Vocational Education, Training and Employment Act 2000 currently empowers the Skills Queensland to set a 'nominal term' for all apprenticeships and traineeships. The Queensland Government Green Paper, Queensland's proposed responses to the challenges of skills for jobs and growth, recognised the need to develop new options to enable people to complete apprenticeships more quickly if they gain the required competencies. It proposed a number of shortened apprenticeship durations based on an assessment of the range of nominal hours allowed for the qualification supporting the apprenticeship.
Feedback indicated some opposition to the proposed adjustments. However, some industry stakeholders stated there may be scope for an adjustment to the expected durations given proper investigation and consideration.
In October 2005, the Minister for Employment, Training and Industrial Relations requested that the Training and Employment Recognition Council (TERC) consult with key stakeholders with a view to revising nominal terms for apprenticeships in Queensland where appropriate. The TERC has undertaken a review and has recommended that a new concept, 'expected duration' be introduced for all apprenticeships in Queensland.
The expected duration will complement the existing nominal duration but will be the benchmark timeframe used for the development of training plans and to establish expected progression points or stages. In the majority of apprenticeships the expected duration, operating in concert with other reforms in Actions 15 and 16 of the Queensland Skills Plan, will set a target for earlier completion by those apprentices who can achieve competency within the period.
Should personal or other circumstances delay the progress of the apprentice, the period between the expected and nominal durations will be used to extend the training without the need for additional administrative approval processes. In some cases, the expected duration will remain at four years, even though these new arrangements will allow every apprenticeship to be completed ahead of the expected duration, if the required competencies have been gained.
Any strategy to allow accelerated apprenticeship training will require new and improved enhanced training opportunities, and strategies to achieve this will be discussed with industry.