A campaign by the Fair Work Ombudsman will see up to 700 businesses in every capital city and selected regional areas audited in the next few months in a number of sectors including bakery trades.
Most requests for assistance from apprentices and trainees have come from the hospitality industry. However, Fair Work has announced it will exclude the wider hospitality industry from the program as it has already been targeted under separate campaigns.
There are currently almost 400,000 apprentices and trainees working across Australia, with 1400 – more than half of who were aged under 24-years – having sought help from the Ombudsman in the past 10 months.
“Given we receive a consistent stream of requests for assistance from apprentices and the high drop-out rates, we believe an education and compliance campaign for employers of apprentices and trainees is warranted,” Fair Work Ombudsman (Operations) Michael Campbell said.
“Our objective is to provide advice and assistance to businesses at the earliest point in the employment relationship to ensure we give the apprentice the best chance of successfully completing his or her trade.”
Employers will also be educated about appropriate payments for off-the-job training for apprentices, competency-based progression and reimbursement of applicable course fees.
“Where we find problems, we will endeavour to identify the cause. This will help to inform our compliance and education efforts in the future,” Michael said.