Competency Based Completion

What is competency?

Competency is the consistent application of knowledge and skill to the standard of performance required in the workplace.

What is competency based completion?

All apprenticeships in Victoria are competency based.

Training Packages are made up of units of competency endorsed by industry. Apprentices are assessed against these units of competency by a Registered Training Organisation (RTO).

Apprentices can demonstra​​​​te competency through successfully doing a task, exercise or activity. This way, apprentices may complete their training program at their own rate based on their own abilities.​

Employers assist apprentices to gain the necessary skills in the workplace by aligning the apprentice’s tasks with what they are learning through their RTO. Employers then need to confirm with the RTO once the apprentice is able to apply the skills to the standard required in the workplace.

Summary of competency based completion

A summary of competency based completion can be accessed from the document below:

Frequently asked questions

Are all apprenticeships under competency based completion arrangements?

Yes, all Victorian apprenticeships are under competency based completion arrangements. Only apprenticeships that commenced in 2010 or earlier are time-based.

Does it also apply to traineeships?

Yes, competency based completion arrangements have always been in place fo​r traineeships.

How is competency assessed?

Competency is assessed by a Registered Training Organisation (RTO). Apprentices can demonstrate competency thro​​ugh successfully doing a task, exercise or activity. Employers then need to confirm that the apprentice is able to apply the same skills in the workplace.

How does the Training Plan assist?

The employer, their apprentice and RTO are all parties to the Training Plan. The Training Plan sets out how training will be delivered and how and when skills will be assessed.

A Training Plan must be completed preferably before training commences but no later than four weeks after training commences.​

A Training Plan is a living document that must be reviewed and updated on a regular basis to reflect the progress of the apprentice.

Who is responsible for ensuring the apprentice is enrolled with an RTO?

The emplo​​yer is responsible. An apprentice should be enrolled with an RTO within three months of starting their apprenticeship.

What if the apprentice is employed by a group training organisation (GTO)?

The G​​TO is responsible for providing confirmation of workplace performance of the apprentice, not the host employer.

Why does the Training Contract still nominate a time for completion?

The Training Contract specifies a ‘nominal duration’. Most apprentices will complete their apprenticeship within this time. The actual duration of an apprenticeship will differ for each apprentice. Previous experience, training and the time it takes the apprentice to learn new skills, will all affect the length of an apprenticeship.

An apprenticeship ends once the apprentice is found competent by the RTO and this is confirmed by the employer in the workplace.​

Where an apprentice needs more time to achieve the required competencies, the ‘nominal duration’ can be extended.  This can be arranged by contacting your Apprenticeship Network Provider

Can an apprentice request time credit for previous training or experience?

Yes. Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL), for skills already gained through earlier training or experience, and Credit Transfer for related qualifications (such as a pre-apprenticeship) may shorten the nominal duration of the apprenticeship.

The RTO will identify any RPL or Credit Transfer as part of developing a training plan in conjunction with the employer and apprentice at the start of the apprenticeship. ​

The amount of credit should be noted in calculating the nominal duration, so that everyone is in agreement about the apprentice’s entitlements.  

Does finishing structured training/trade school complete the apprenticeship?

No, the apprenticeship is not complete until the apprentice is found competent by the RTO and this is confirmed by the employer in the wor​kplace.

What if the apprentice loses their job before completing the apprenticeship?

Where an apprenticeship is cancelled but the apprentice still wants to complete their trade, they are known as an ‘out of trade’ apprentice. 

Out of trade apprentices can continue their training until they complete their qualification or find a new employer.  The government will subsidise the training. The apprentice will need to continue to pay tuition fees.

If an out of trade apprentice completes their training without recommencing an apprenticeship, their qualification will not include the words ‘achieved through Australian Apprenticeship arrangements’.  These words are only included on a certificate issued to someone who has completed their training whilst in an apprenticeship.​

For more information about assistance for out of trade apprentices, see: Financial Assistance

What if the apprentice is not able to demonstrate competency in the workplace?

The employer, in discussion with the RTO, should work with the apprentice to assist them to gain the necessary skills in ​the workplace. In some cases, this may require further training through the RTO

How many times will the RTO make contact?

The RTO mu​​st make a minimum of four contacts per year with the employer to discuss the apprentice’s progress. 

What record does the employer have to keep about the contacts made by the RTO?

The employer doesn’t have to keep a record of the contacts made by the RTO however it is good pr​​actice to retain copies of letters concerning competency of their apprentice or Training Plan updates. In addition it can be helpful to note down any phone calls or meetings that the employer has with the RTO.

When and how is the apprenticeship completed?

An apprenticeship ends once the apprentice is found competent by the RTO and this is confirmed by the employer in the workplace.​

For more information about completion, see: Completing an apprenticeship or traineeship

What does it mean when the apprenticeship is complete?

Completion of the apprenticeship means the apprentice becomes a qualified tradesperson. They will also ordinarily get a higher rate of pay.​

For more information on wages and conditions, see the: Fair Work Ombudsman website or call the Fair Work Info line on 13 13 94

What is competency based wage progression?

Some industries have introduced competency based wage progression. In these industries, an apprentice receives a wage increase after reaching a ‘progression point’. Progression points are based on successful completion of a certain number of competencies rather than a period of time.

RTOs must keep employers, and their apprentices, informed of an apprentice’s progress toward completing their apprenticeship qualification. ​

For more information on wages and conditions, see the: Fair Work Ombudsman website or call the Fair Work Info line on 13 13 94

What if we can’t agree whether the apprentice is competent?

The best way to resolve an issue is for the parties to the training plan to discuss and determine an appropriate course of action.

If the issue cannot be resolved, and is related to wages and conditions, see the: Fair Work Ombudsman website or call the Fair Work Infoline on 13 13 94.

If the issue is likely to impact on completion of the apprenticeship, the apprentice or employer should contact the VRQA on 1300 722 603. The VRQA may refer the matter to an Authorised Officer for further investigation.

For more information about VRQA Authorised officers, see: Regulatory field services