|People in apprenticeships can move through the system quickly if they can show they have the skills apprentices are shaving more than a year off their training through a little-known initiative designed to fast-track vocational careers.|
WPC Group general manager Andrew Sezonov says while any sector can offer accelerated apprenticeships, it is currently commonplace only in the automotive industry.
However, group training organisation (GTO) Maxima says it has facilitated early sign-off in other areas including clerical, horticulture, community services, hospitality and civil construction.
The accelerated apprenticeship model is spearheaded by a partnership between WPC Group and Nissan to deliver NISSMAP, an apprentice technician program that allows participants to qualify in their trade within 2.8 years, compared to the standard four years.
“It’s designed so that as soon as you are competent, you are signed off,” says Sezonov.
“(Apprentices) are not waiting around to get to 48 months on lower (apprentice) wages there’s light at the end of the tunnel for them and, if they work hard, they can move on with their career quicker.”
Under the NISSMAP program, apprentices spend more time engaged in on-the-job training, with just two to four weeks at trade school, instead of the standard eight weeks.
They are also able to undertake basic vehicle servicing within the first six months of their apprenticeship rather than waiting until their second year of training providing a much faster return on investment for employers, Sezonov says.
The accelerated training has increased apprentice engagement and retention levels, with Nissan enjoying an apprentice retention rate of 82 per cent, compared to the national average of 49 per cent.
Maxima employment and training services general manager David Nagy says while he prefers to stick to the “recommended nominal durations of contract” for apprentices and trainees, about 28 per cent have been signed off early by the GTO in the past year.
“Any apprentice or trainee is eligible for an early sign off in all industries,” Nagy says.
“But this must be under mutual agreement with their employer, the supervisor must determine that the trainee or apprentice has reached onthe-job competence, formal vocational study must be completed and, generally speaking, a minimum length of 50 per cent of the contract nominal term must have passed.”
Laura Robinson, 23, completed a light vehicle apprenticeship through NISSMAP in two years and nine months and then immediately undertook an additional Certificate III in Automotive Electrical Technology.
With credit applied from her first round of training, Robinson finished the second qualification in 12 months, putting her in a strong position to move into the new era of electric vehicles.
“I’ve now got two qualifications in the same time (as it takes to complete) a normal apprenticeship, which is really good,” Robinson says.
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