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Apprenticeship flexibility means more bright sparks

The National Electrical and Communications Association (NECA) has successfully applied to Fair Work Australia, with two types of apprenticeships now available to the NSW electrical businesses.

Electrical ApprenticeThe NECA, the peak industry body for electrical contractors, made an application to Fair Work Australia to vary the new modern Electrical, Electronic and Communications Contracting Award to ensure that trainee apprenticeships remained an option for NSW electrical businesses and apprentices.

Before Fair Work Australia’s decision yesterday only indentured apprenticeships, which involves both the employer and apprentice entering into a formal training contract or agreement, were covered by the new modern award.

The decision to allow trainee apprenticeships free of a formal training contract or agreement provides flexibility for NSW businesses and apprentices to choose the apprenticeship format that best suits their needs, according to Chairman of NECA’s Industrial Relations Advisory Group Philip Green.

“The successful application to alter the new modern electrical award so it covered both types of apprenticeships is a win for small businesses in our industry…(as) having flexibility will encourage businesses to take on apprentices and this is a huge positive in a market that suffers from skill shortages.” Mr Green said.

“Trainee apprenticeships have been part of the NSW training system for 30 years but unfortunately they were not included in the new modern award. Fair Work’s decision restores them, which is extremely important given that up to 10 percent of electrical apprentices in NSW have been engaged as trainee apprentices. Now businesses can assess which type of electrical apprenticeship is best for them and the apprentice, and continue training to meet the future needs of the industry,” added Mr Green.