COVID-19 Information for SBATs apprentices and trainees (FAQs)

Male apprentice on worksite looking at plans

Training Services NSW is committed to working in collaboration with federal, state and local governments to assist apprentices and trainees impacted by COVID.

Training Services NSW regional and metropolitan offices are able to provide support and information to impacted students, apprentices and trainees. Affected apprentices and trainees can contact Training Services NSW on 13 28 11 who will provide information, advice and referral services.

Information for apprentices and trainees who have been suspended, or lost their job completely:

  • Apprentices and trainees who have lost their job or are not receiving an income due to COVID-19 can apply for Commonwealth Government financial assistance.
  • Apprentices and trainees who have lost their job due to COVID-19 can use the CAPS program to find short or long term reassignment with a new employer.

General questions

Apprentices and trainees can use the CAPS program. The CAPS program is there to help apprentices and trainees find employment with a new employer.

Yes, you can continue to do your funded formal training with your approved Smart and Skilled RTO while you look for another employer. If you have any questions, please call us on 13 28 11.

We recommend that you contact your training provider to discuss other ways to undertake your training.

If you’re still having trouble, call one of our offices on 13 28 11.

Generally yes. For further information regarding available assistance and eligibility see Commonwealth Government financial assistance.

Please call us on 13 28 11. At the moment, fee payments can only be made by credit card over the phone. 

Yes, Barranggirra – Skilling for Employment provides end to end support for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander learners through culturally appropriate mentoring to ensure successful retention and completion of training and improved post-training employment outcomes. This service will remain open throughout the COVID-19 Pandemic.

Information regarding support through Barranggirra and contacts in your local area can be found here.

For further assistance email TSNSW.Aboriginal.Initiatives@det.nsw.edu.au

Vaccinations

Some industries require mandatory vaccinations in order to attend worksites. As a worker you will be required to be fully vaccinated if your industry is listed in the nsw.gov.au Requirements for Workers page  If you are studying to become a worker in these industries, you will need to be double vaccinated so that you can attend your scheduled work placement if required.

Apprentices and Trainees who work in a sector that has mandated the COVID-19 vaccine may only be exempt from the vaccination requirement if:

The NSW Government website provides information about how to get a COVID-19 vaccine.

For any booking issues – please call the free COVID-19 Vaccination Program hotline on 1800 571 155 between 8am – 9.30pm, 7 days a week.

Please make use of the GP network, walk-in vaccination clinics and pharmacies to be vaccinated with whatever vaccine is available as soon as possible.

You will need to obtain a medical certificate from a medical practitioner in the form approved by the NSW Chief Health Officer that certifies that because of a specified medical contraindication, you cannot have a COVID-19 vaccine.

For more information visit: COVID-19 vaccination for workers | NSW Government.

Based on the NSW Public Health Order, where Sectors require proof of vaccination, a worker must show:

Completions

If there has been a delay with the delivery of your formal training, and you are unlikely to complete your training or assessments within the remaining term of your apprenticeship or traineeship, you and your employer can request an extension of term.

However, to reduce unnecessary paperwork we suggest that you wait to review the need for an extension until the last six months of the nominal training term. This may give you time to catch up on your training before the end of your Training Contract. If you and your employer decide to proceed with a term extension request immediately, it will be assessed on a case by case basis by your Training Services NSW centre.

To request an extension to the apprenticeship or traineeship term, please complete a variation request form and submit to Training Services NSW. If you have any questions, please call us on 13 28 11.

Suspensions

If your apprenticeship or traineeship has been suspended, and you are unlikely to complete your training or assessments within the remaining term of your apprenticeship or traineeship, you and your employer can request an extension of term. However, we suggest that you wait to review the need for an extension until the last six months of the nominal apprenticeship/traineeship term.

To request an extension to the apprenticeship or traineeship term, please complete a variation request form and submit to Training Services NSW. If you have any questions, please call us on 13 28 11.

If you have been stood down or terminated from your employment, please see Commonwealth Government financial assistance for information about eligibility and available assistance.

Generally, you will not be asked to produce evidence of being stood down or terminated. However, if required, your employer should be able to provide a letter or some other form of evidence.

Note: You DO NOT require a letter to indicate that your apprenticeship or traineeship has been suspended or cancelled. Your training contract status has nothing to do with eligibility for Commonwealth Government financial assistance. It’s all about your employment status.

Yes. Please contact us on 13 28 11 for assistance.

Maybe. You need to have a good reason for this request. You should also note that there would likely be Industrial Relations implications and you may need to be employed under different rates of pay/conditions. If you and your employer are looking to do this, we suggest you first seek advice from FairWork Australia. Our staff will consider requests to suspend the training arrangement, while leaving the employment arrangement in place, on a case by case basis. .

This flexibility is only available during COVID-19 to meet immediate management needs and to keep as many people in employment as possible. This provision WILL NOT be available under normal circumstances.

Training Plans

Yes. You should get a Training Plan within 12 weeks of approval of your apprenticeship or traineeship unless your apprenticeship or traineeship has been suspended.

Yes. You should still get an updated Training Plan showing your progress at least every six months unless your apprenticeship or traineeship has been suspended.

Employment changes

If formal training is continuing, then training plan obligations need to be met.

If an extension of the term of training is needed, then all parties still need to apply. However, we suggest that all parties wait to review the need for an extension until the last six months of the nominal training term.

We suggest that you liaise with the employer regarding the need for them to lodge a term extension application, and they can contact their ANP, or call us on 13 28 11 for assistance.

Due to COVID-19, Training Services NSW will not require a Training Plan to be lodged with Term Extension requests of up to 3 months. Term Extensions over 3 months will require an amended full Training Plan.

Yes, apprentices and trainees can continue to access funded training with their approved Smart and Skilled RTO if their apprenticeship or traineeship is cancelled.

If you are unable to deliver either class room based training, or access a workplace to deliver training, you should negotiate with the employer to see if training can be delivered by an alternative, acceptable mode of delivery.

For the period 1 April 2020 to 30 June 2022 (excluding SBATs), if there is no acceptable solution, formal training may be suspended, with the agreement of all parties, for periods of up to six months. Parties do NOT need to advise the Department of this training suspension. Note, suspension of formal training may require the employer and learner to seek an extension to the training term at a later date.

Signature Training Plan - Endorsement

Yes. Your obligations under the Apprenticeship and Traineeship Act, including this one, are only suspended or cancelled if the traineeship or apprenticeship is suspended or cancelled.

If you are experiencing difficulties in obtaining this endorsement, you should make every effort to resolve the situation yourselves. Where this fails, you should send an RTO Notification form to TS NSW who will attempt to resolve the situation.

In response to the possible difficulties created by COVID 19 in getting an employer’s endorsement/signature for a learner’s competency on Parts 2 and 5 of a Training Plan, a combination of signatures and emails may be retained as evidence.

For confirmation of the employer’s endorsement of Part 2 of the Training Plan, the email should list all units of competency that the learner has undertaken and confirm clearly that the employer endorses the competency for those units.

For endorsement of Part 5 of the Training Plan an employer must confirm their endorsement by including an acknowledgment including the following statement:

I (full name of employer) endorse that (full name of learner) is competent to industry standards in the nominated vocation and that I understand by providing this endorsement:

  • I confirm that my (apprentice/trainee’s) competency and support the issue of the qualification by the RTO; and
  • I may be obligated to pay a higher rate of pay as a result of the qualification being issued (check award requirements); and
  • I and or my (apprentice/trainee) can seek to complete the (apprenticeship/traineeship) before the nominal completion date OR continue in the apprenticeship/traineeship up to the nominal completion date.

For the period 1 April 2020 to 30 June 2022, if this is a temporary change in delivery mode in response to COVID 19, the employer and learner do NOT need to apply for a variation.

If this is permanent change, the employer and learner will need to complete a variation request form.

The employer and apprentice/trainee will need to seek an extension of term. However, it is suggested that parties wait to review the need for an extension until the last six months of the nominal training term.

It is suggested that you liaise with the employer regarding the need for them to lodge a variation request form.

Note, for the immediate future, the Department does NOT require a Training Plan from the RTO in support of these applications.

Yes, apprentices and trainees can continue to access funded training with their approved Smart and Skilled RTO whilst looking for a new employer if their apprenticeship or traineeship is cancelled.

Yes. If an apprentice or trainee was in a Smart & Skilled fee free funded arrangement which is cancelled, but subsequently re-established with the same employer, the learner will continue to be eligible for fee free funded training.

If you are unable to deliver either class room or work-based training, you should negotiate with the employer to see if training can be delivered by an alternative, acceptable mode of delivery.

For the period 1 April 2020 to 30 June 2022 (excluding SBATs), if there is no acceptable solution, formal training may be suspended, with the agreement of all parties, for periods of up to six months. Parties do NOT need to advise the Department of this training suspension. Note, suspension of formal training may require the employer and learner to seek an extension to the training term at a later date.

Maybe. They must have a good reason for this request and speak to our staff first. This flexibility is only available during COVID 19 to meet immediate management needs and to keep as many people in employment as possible. This provision WILL NOT be available under normal circumstances.

Yes, Barranggirra – Skilling for Employment provides end to end support for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander learners through culturally appropriate mentoring to ensure successful retention and completion of training and improved post-training employment outcomes. This service will remain open throughout the COVID 19 Pandemic.

Information regarding support through Barranggirra and contacts in your local area can be found here.

For further assistance email TSNSW.Aboriginal.Initiatives@det.nsw.edu.au.

You have two options:

Option 1. Temporary change from Full Time to Part Time

For the period up to 30 June 2022, if there is not enough work to employ you full time, you and your employer may agree to move to a part time arrangement. This arrangement must be temporary in nature and be agreed by both you and your employer. Note, remaining hours must meet minimum PT hour requirements. No formal advice to the Department is required for this temporary change.

OR

Option 2. Variation

If the change is of a more permanent nature, you and your employer will need to complete and submit a variation request form. If you have any questions contact us on 13 28 11.

Training changes

All Students, Apprentices, Trainees and SBATs have the right to access the delivery of face to face formal training aligned to COVID-19 safe practices. 

Training Providers are committed to complying with NSW Government health guidelines and must observe COVID-safe practices.

Training Providers should have developed:

  • Policy and procedures for ensuring the safety of unvaccinated staff, students and visitors (including mask wearing, QR code safe check in, sanitising stations, additional cleaning regimes, well ventilated work and training spaces)
  • Support mechanisms for students on a case by case basis in sectors where vaccinations are mandated (Education, Health, Disability, Aged Care and NSW Police).

  • There are steps you can take to protect your wellbeing, stay safe and stop the spread of COVID-19.
  • NSW Health encourages everyone from age 5 to be vaccinated as the best defence against COVID-19.
  • Add your COVID-19 digital certificate to the Service NSW App
    • Open the Express Plus Medicare ap
    • Select 'Proof of vaccinations' from Services.
    • Select 'View history'.
    • Select your name, then 'View COVID-19 digital certificate'.
    • Select 'Share with check in app'.
    • Select 'Service NSW' and follow the prompts.
  • Check in/out using the Service NSW QR code
  • Observe COVID-19 safe practices such as physical distancing, hand hygiene, cough etiquette and stay home if you are unwell.
  • Wear a mask if your training provider requests you to during indoor training sessions.

Regardless of vaccination status, all Covid-19 positive people must self-isolate for seven (7) days and follow the advice from NSW Health. Additional support and guidelines for self isolation are available through a NSW Government Fact Sheet

Training Providers will refer to their own policy and procedures for further instructions on notifying others and:

  • Tell anyone identified as a close or casual contact to immediately leave, get tested (Rapid Antigen Test or PCR test) and return home to follow the advice from NSW Health.
  • Notify SafeWork NSW on 13 10 50.

  • Face to Face training returned for both vaccinated and unvaccinated learners in December 2021.  The surge in cases in 2022 has meant that access to your formal training may be deferred or moved to an online option in the short term.  Please contact your training provider to discuss your training options
  • You will need to discuss your face to face training with your Training Provider, confirming that face to face delivery is continuing in 2022. Your training may move to online learning, virtual classes or you may be asked to defer your formal study for a period of time. 
  •  You can call your local Training Services NSW centre to discuss your options on 13 28 11. A staff member there can support you with extending your training contract if you are an apprentice or trainee or provide advice for smart and skilled students.

No. There is no impact on apprenticeship or traineeship scholarships or concessions.

Employers and Training Providers need to notify SafeWork Australia of any outbreaks. Further advice regarding actions required may be provided by NSW Health.  You will be contacted by your training provider or via the Service NSW App if there is a positive case and you will need to monitor for symptoms.

You may need to take Rapid Antigen Test and register your result if you are positive.

Training Providers might be notified that a worker or student who has attended the workplace and tested positive for COVID-19 by:

  • public health authorities
  • the person who has tested positive or
  • an employer of a person who visits the workplace.

The privacy and confidentiality of the person who tested positive for COVID-19 must always be maintained.

Your Training Provider will follow the Guidance for businesses with a worker who tests positive for COVID-19 | NSW Government.

Register a positive rapid antigen test result

From 12 January, you must report a positive rapid antigen test result:

  • Within 24 hours of getting the result
  • Every time you get a positive result.

If you have tested positive and reported your result, you can:

  • Quickly understand your relative level of risk, based on your personal circumstances
  • Access support services available from NSW Health
  • Access financial support, such as the Pandemic Disaster Leave.

Register your COVID-19 test result.

Stay up to date with the rules about returning to work or training after testing positive to COVID-19, including information about Rapid Antigen Tests.  Information can be found in this NSW Government Fact Sheet.

School based apprentices and trainees - General

Yes.

SBATs will be able to complete their days after 31 December of the HSC year. Employers of SBTs will need to seek an extension of term to allow for these required days.

The employer, SBAT and school will need to look for an alternative RTO that may continue to deliver training and assessment services. Note, extended breaks in training for SBAT students may impact their achievement of the HSC. The student’s school must be notified in these instances.

If a student wants to cancel, they need to liaise with their school to check the impact on HSC and ATAR eligibility.

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