Solving disputes

Training Services NSW staff and ultimately the Commissioner for Vocational Education manage disputes between apprentices, trainees and their employers.

Dispute resolution

If difficulties arise between an employer and apprentice or trainee, the local Training Services NSW Centre should be contacted immediately. A Training Adviser can visit the workplace to discuss the issues, advise and attempt to resolve the dispute.

If the Training Adviser is not able to resolve the dispute, the matter will be referred to the Commissioner for Vocational Training for resolution. The Commissioner is given authority under the provisions of the Apprenticeship and Traineeship Act 2001 to provide for the regulation of apprenticeships and traineeships.

The Commissioner will convene a hearing with the aim of creating a settlement that is acceptable to all parties. Otherwise, if an acceptable settlement cannot be reached, there will be a determination.

The Commissioner determines complaints either by dismissing the complaint or resolving it (depending on its merits) and may order the parties to take a particular course of action.

Hearings are chaired by the Commissioner or the Commissioner's delegate and when required Industrial Representatives. The representatives may consist of members who represent the NSW Government, employers and their associations, industry groups, unions and public and private-registered training organisations.

What is the role of the Commissioner for Vocational Training?

The Commissioner is the regulator of apprenticeships and traineeships in NSW, and:

  • conciliates and determines disputes between employers and apprentices or trainees
  • considers applications for transfer or cancellation of an apprenticeship or traineeship when disagreement exists between the apprentice or trainee and the employer
  • considers applications for variation to a training contract or training plan of an apprenticeship or traineeship when the application is outside the local Training Services NSW Centre delegations
  • considers applications for a Certificate of Proficiency via recognition of trade qualifications gained in NSW or elsewhere

Related information

  • Dispute resolution - Information about changes to the Apprenticeship and Traineeship Act 2001 to support dispute resolution.
  • Appeals and Reviews - Learn the process of requesting for an appeal or review to a decision made by the Commissioner of Vocational Training.


  • Skills
  • VET


  • VET

Business Unit:

  • Training Services NSW
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