Individual enterprises and employers have a key role to play. If they do not see the benefits of apprenticeship training and do not want to recruit apprentices, then there is no apprenticeship system.
Enterprises that take on apprentices typically have to be approved as ‘training and learning venues’ to ensure that they comply with specific standards pertaining to training provisions and working conditions. In some countries, enterprises - particularly micro- and some small- and medium-sized enterprises - may be unable to provide opportunities for training in line with the required learning outcomes; consequently, they join together to offer an apprentice a place or train an apprentice employed by a “group training organization, which is responsible for rotating their apprentices between different workplaces.
The main roles and responsibilities of enterprises and employers are to:
- Recruit and train apprentices to fill current or anticipated vacancies and to bring young people with fresh ideas and modern practices into the workplace;
- Train apprentices in the interests of society, as Quality Apprenticeships add to the supply of skilled workers who are available throughout the labour market;
- Conclude a Quality Apprenticeship contract with each apprentice using an established template;
- Pay apprentices the salary or remuneration according to the standards set, and provide for full social security coverage;
- Appoint an appropriate in-company mentor/trainer/supervisor to accompany the progress of the apprentice and provide the necessary budget, working time and degree of autonomy for him/her to carry out this role;
- Comply with all applicable occupational safety and health regulations;
- Provide on-the-job training in line with the training programme agreed with other Quality Apprenticeship partners, and liaise with them to monitor and evaluate the apprentice’s progress;
- Release the apprentice from work and pay the remuneration to attend any off-the-job training, including assessment as provided for in the training plan;
- Respect the regulations for young people at work (e.g. no night shifts, no overtime work), if the apprentices are underage as defined by the Labour Code;
- Ensure that apprentices are protected against different forms of abuse and harassment;
- Provide a certain portion of apprenticeship places for young people with learning difficulties, disabilities and other limitations, and take the necessary measures to accommodate their needs.
In their campaigns to attract employers to participate in apprenticeship training programmes, the public authorities often spell out what the role and responsibilities of employers are, as may be seen in box 20, in the case of the State of Queensland in Australia.
Box 2: Employers’ responsibilities – Queensland, Australia
During the apprenticeship or traineeship the employer must:
- Deliver training as negotiated in the training plan;
- Provide, or arrange to provide, the facilities and range of work as specified in the training plan, ensuring the apprentice or trainee is adequately supervised by a qualified person;
- Pay the wages and provide the entitlements specified in the relevant industrial relations instrument;
- Release the apprentice or trainee from work and pay the appropriate wages to attend any off-the-job training, including assessment as provided for in the training plan;
- Discharge all lawful obligations of an employer, including those relating to workplace health and safety;
- At reasonable intervals of not more than three months, update the training record;
- Negotiate a training plan within 28 days where the current training plan has ended due to change of training organisation or transfer of training contract (Queensland Government, 2015).