NECA is to play a major role in a new electrical apprenticeship pilot being trialled throughout Australia by EE-Oz Training Standards focused on improving electrical apprentice completion rates across the country.
The pilot will provide electrical apprentices the opportunity to progress through their training once they demonstrate competency. Industry endorsed benchmarks will ensure the progression model is comprehensive and rigorous ensuring quality outcomes.
NECA, which is involved in the training of over 2,000 electrical and communications apprentices through its group training companies, will employ over 20 mentor/advisors across Australia to talk to and advise employers, potential apprentices and their parents to assist with increasing the apprenticeship completion rates.
NECA Chief Executive Officer James Tinslay believes that the initiative, launched by the Federal Government at NECA Apprenticeships Victoria facility in September is needed due to the variable apprentice completion rates in the electrical trade across Australia, with NECA’s Group Training Schemes having completion rates of over 90% in comparison to the overall industry average of just above 60%.
Backed by its knowledge and track record of delivering outstanding completion rates, NECA is confident of improving these completion rates through the selection process and then mentoring the apprentice throughout the term of their apprenticeship to ensure they’re satisfactorily progressing through both on and off the job competencies.
Mr Tinslay explains that the program is not about watering down the requirements but rather strengthening the electrical apprenticeship training program.
While many in the industry may feel four years is the minimum that an apprenticeship should be served, this pilot would accommodate those apprentices that are able to demonstrate competencies prior to the traditional four-year completion rate and also those who would benefit from additional time served. Mr Tinslay added that the program would allow flexibility both ways with the focus being on safety and quality of skills application.
The Managing Apprentice Progression (MAP) pilot is being trialled across 28 participating Registered Training Organisations (RTOs) across Australia and will see 1,000 first-year apprentices commence in 2013 and another 1,500 apprentices in 2014.
EE-Oz Training Standards Chief Executive Officer Bob Taylor said that the severity of skills shortages in the electrical industry combined with the increasing number of mature apprentices has necessitated a comprehensive rethink of apprentice training. Currently, approximately a third of those who start an electrical apprenticeship end up not completing, which represents a huge cost to industry and an equally huge waste of government’s resources to the nation.
Candidates have commenced booking into Readiness Assessments throughout the participating RTOs. Successful completion of the Readiness Assessment will assist to identify any potential barriers to undertaking an electrical apprenticeship.
The final challenge is to secure employment with an employer and EE-Oz is calling on NECA’s members to get involved by registering to be part of the pilot program, which would allow them to have access to a pool of candidates who have achieved the Readiness Assessment benchmark. This will assist and advance recruitment efforts and provide employers with the confidence that their selected candidate is suitable for an electrical apprenticeship.
During the pilot program, the apprentice will be assessed against industry agreed progression benchmarks with final sign-off against online national assessments. This means that flexible progression is undertaken against quality indicators and the apprentice will progress and complete the trade when competence is achieved.
The pilot program provides an assigned industry mentor to guide the employer, the apprentice and the RTO through the relevant on and off the job components of the program, keeping all parties on track.
This article was provided by NECA NSW