How Vocational Education and Training (VET) can help you
What do you need help with?
How VET can help
|Skilling new, inexperienced employees||Through entry-level training.
Your employees or potential employees can complete:
|Helping experienced employees to develop new, higher level or more specialised skills||Through upskilling.
Your employees can complete:
|Skilling new employees who have previous relevant experience in a different industry sector||Through reskilling.
Your employees can:
|Helping experienced employees to gain recognition for their existing skills or experience||Through Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL).
Your employees can apply for this with a Registered Training Organisation.
|Helping employees to gain recognition for previous VET study||Through Credit Transfer.
Your employees can gain credit towards a qualification for units of competency they have already completed.
|Developing employees language, literacy, numeracy or digital literacy skills||Through foundation skills training.
Find out about subsidised training for foundation skills for your employees, through:
|Identifying workforce skills gaps||Through a ‘training needs analysis’.
A Registered Training Organisation can help you with this.
|Helping with recruitment strategies||Through exposure to potential employees by:
|Supporting career pathways||Through accredited training that provides a pathway for employees to undertake study at a higher level, including at university.|
What are vocational placements?
Vocational placements are more than work experience. They involve structured learning in the workplace, which links to students’ coursework. They help link theory with practice.
Vocational placements are a mandatory part of many vocational qualifications in human services. For example, entry-level qualifications in aged care, disability and early childhood education and care sectors, require individuals to do a minimum amount of structured work experience.
How can vocational placements help?
Vocational placements give individuals valuable work experience in their chosen field, and gain their qualification.
For employers, they offer the opportunity to see students operating in a workplace setting. Many human services employers take on work placement students as part of their recruitment strategy and offer them employment on graduation.
Work placements are a great thing… because you get a taste of them [the student], and they get a taste of you. Neither party’s made any commitment, and you get to see them in action, and get to see their values and behaviours. Many people get a qualification, but their attitude is what makes or breaks their employment.
So if you form a relationship with your local TAFE, or uni or whatever, and do work placements with them, it really makes life a lot easier.
(Disability service provider)
What do vocational placements require of employers?
To take a student on a placement you must supervise them and contribute to their learning. You will liaise with the training provider about what the student needs to do during their time with you and be asked to verify that the student has developed the required skills.
My experience is that placements have to be a two-way partnership. Each person understands the expectations of them, and how they perform that. It’s actually a simple process – you’ve got the reinforcement of theory, in terms of what the learner is learning, and the practicality of its application.
So it needs to be a partnership between us and the RTO to bring those two things together and wrap them around the learner to get a positive outcome from the placement.
(Disability service provider)
Ideally you, the student and the training provider will sign an agreement that sets out the requirements of each party.
Providing students with a positive and meaningful vocational placement experience helps build a pool of skilled and motivated workers. Students can lose interest in a field because of poor placement experiences.
We do try our best to create an authentic experience for our students. We want them to feel like they have responsibilities, and they’re able to actually behave like an educator rather than just a student.
(Early childhood education and care provider)
What is training and how can it help?
Training is an integral part of workforce development. It helps people develop the skills they need to do their job well and safely. Skilled staff help human services organisations deliver high quality service to clients and stay in operation. Investing in training also helps retain your employees. Training can give them pathways for career progression and keep them engaged and motivated.
I think the employees feel more valued if you are supporting them to get training. They’re happier in their role, they can see advancement, even a bit of financial benefit…. I have people here who have been carers and become enrolled nurses’ and then RNs; people in the kitchen who have become carers. They come to us when we do our annual review, and they tell me what they want, and then we try to facilitate that for them.
(Aged care provider)
What does training require of employers?
The most effective training involves a commitment from employers.
This could be in the form of:
- a workplace culture that encourages and supports learning
- giving employees time off for training
- paying for employees’ training
- checking on employees’ training progress, and looking for ways to apply their learning in the workplace
- mentoring or coaching employees
- engaging internal or external trainers to deliver training in the workplace
- working with a training provider to develop customised training.
You’ve got to have the commitment to the admin and the completion of training. There’s an effort attached and it needs commitment from the organisation from top down. You have to make sure the person is available, or able to be pulled off the floor for learning. You need competent line managers who can cover the gaps in training and you need to educate management about what’s expected and how to do it.
(Disability service provider)
What are apprenticeships and traineeships?
Apprentices and trainees are trained by both their employer and an RTO while they work under a formal contract of training.
Traineeships are usually shorter (1 or 2 years) than apprenticeships (up to 4 years) and both can be done at any age. For example, school-based traineeships allow young people to gain exposure to an industry and an initial qualification while still at school. Mature age traineeships enable those aged over 24 years to complete a qualification while working, and to be paid a higher trainee wage than young trainees.
‘Australian Apprenticeships’ is the formal term used for both traineeships and apprenticeships.
Trainees are paid prescribed ‘trainee wages’ in recognition of their lower skill levels. However, some employers choose to pay above award wages to attract good trainees.
Training may be partly or fully government subsidised. Employers of trainees may be eligible for government incentives that offset the time required to supervise and deliver ‘on-the-job’ training.
Employers cite benefits of traineeships, such as:
- trainees becoming “really great workers”, with the initial effort paying off in the long-term
- trainees developing skills that the organisation needs
- helping to attract and retain workers, and build commitment as part of a stable workforce
- an affordable way of employing new staff to work alongside experienced workers.
What do apprenticeships and traineeships require of employers?
You will need to enter into a formal contract with the apprentice or trainee, which sets out the obligations of each party.
Trainees require a nominated staff member to supervise their learning in the workplace.
We’ve recently taken on some trainees. We’ve gone through the process, and as an employer, I think you need to be aware of the responsibility and the extra work it will take – working with the RTO, interviews, the planning, the gearing up to have the training in place, completing the online applications for the funding and incentives.
(Youth and community services provider)
What are they and how can they help?
Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) is a way of certifying that someone already has some or all of the skills and knowledge needed for an accredited qualification. These may have come from other formal or informal training, from experience working in the same sector/occupation, or from other work experience.
Credit transfer is the granting of credit by a Registered Training Organisation or higher education institution for units of competency already completed.
Registered Training Organisations must offer RPL and credit transfer to individuals before they start accredited training. This can reduce the amount of training needed and the time and cost involved. Individuals only need to train in areas where there are gaps in their skills and knowledge.
What does Recognition of Prior Learning require of employers?
Demonstrating that they have the required skills and knowledge can be time consuming for employees who apply for RPL.
You might be asked to complete paperwork to verify that employees have the required skills. So it’s a good idea to keep records of any formal and informal training undertaken by your employees, as well as other documents that demonstrate their experience (such as position descriptions and performance management plans), in case they want to apply for RPL at some point.