New apprenticeship and traineeship requirements in NSW

This training brochure applies to subscribers that employ apprentices or trainees and registered training organisations.

Apprenticeship and Traineeship Amendment Act 2017 No. 42 (NSW)

The Apprenticeship and Traineeship Amendment Act 2017 No. 42 (NSW) (the Amending Act) commenced on 1 January 2018, amending the Apprenticeship and Traineeship Act 2001 (NSW) (the Act).

The Amending Act has updated and simplified the New South Wales apprenticeship and traineeship system by:

  • providing important safeguards to employers, apprentices and trainees;
  • simplifying key processes around completion, certification, variations to training contracts and trade recognition; and
  • removing red tape by abolishing the Vocational Training Review Panel.

Duties of registered training organisations

The Amending Act has introduced section 16A which sets out new duties on registered training organisations (RTOs) in relation to the following matters:

  • the provision of information to the employer in relation to the progress of the apprentice or trainee in obtaining the relevant qualification;
  • 6 monthly reviews of the training plan;
  • obtaining the confirmation of the employer before determining whether the apprentice or trainee has acquired the competencies of the relevant qualification;
  • notifying the Commissioner that the apprentice or trainee has become eligible to be awarded the relevant qualification by the registered training organisation; and
  • notifying the Commissioner of any failure by the employer to allow the apprentice or trainee to commence or participate in the relevant training, to allow the organisation to conduct the relevant training or assessment or to provide any information requested by the organisation for the purpose of assessments of competence in relation to the relevant training.

Subscribers should be aware that a failure to comply with the new obligations carries a maximum penalty of 200 penalty units (currently $22,000).

Training contracts and training plans

The Amending Act has also amended section 7 of the Act to clarify that an application for the establishment of an apprenticeship or traineeship must be accompanied by a proposed training contract and a training plan proposal. A training plan proposal for an apprenticeship or traineeship is defined as a document prepared in accordance with the relevant vocational training order that indicates, in particular:

  • the arrangements for the provision of training to the apprentice or trainee that have been agreed to by the employer and the relevant registered training organisation;
  • the appropriate qualification or qualifications to be awarded to the apprentice or trainee in relation to the apprenticeship or traineeship; and
  • the units of competency forming part of the training for the relevant vocation.

New section 12A requires the relevant RTO to prepare the training plan within 12 weeks after being notified of the approval of the establishment of the apprenticeship or traineeship. The RTO must also to keep a copy of the training plan and make the plan available for inspection on request by the Commissioner. These requirements do not apply, however, if a training plan has already been lodged with the Commissioner (including as part of the application for establishment of the apprenticeship or traineeship).

Increased penalties

Subscribers should also note that a number of penalties have been increased, notably:

  • a failure to apply for the establishment of an apprenticeship or traineeship within 28 days after employing an apprentice or trainee has been increased from 20 to 100 penalty units;
  • employing a person under the age of 21 years in a recognised trade vocation who is not an apprentice or qualified tradesperson in the vocation has been increased from 20 to 100 penalty units; and
  • knowingly placing an placing an apprentice or trainee with a host employer who is a prohibited employer has increased from 20 penalty units to 200 penalty units.

The amending Act has also abolished the Vocational Training Review Panel, and instead provides for a right to apply to the Civil and Administrative Tribunal (NCAT) for an administrative review of certain decisions of the Commissioner for Vocational Training.


Organisations should ensure that any relevant systems and processes are updated to implement the changes discussed above and set out in detail in the NSW – Apprenticeship and Traineeship and NSW – Registered Training Organisations modules.