Competency Based Completion

​What is competency?

Competency is the consistent application of knowledge and skill to the standard of performance required in the workpla​ce.

What is competency based completion?

All apprenticeships in Victoria are competency based.

Competency based training programs are made up of competency standards set by industry. Apprentices are assessed against these standards by a Registered Training Organisation (RTO).

Apprentices can demonstrate 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.

Frequently asked questions

Are all apprenticeships under competency based completion arrangements?

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

Does it also apply to traineeships?

Yes, comp​​​etency based completion arrangements have always been in place for traineeships.

How is competency assessed?

Competency is assessed by the RTO. Apprentices can demonstrate competency through successfully doing a task, exercis​​e 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 apprentice, their employer 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 reviewed and updated on a regular basis. It is important that the apprentice and employer are aware of when training plan discussions will occur with the RTO.

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

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

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 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​.

Does finishing structured training/trade school complete the apprenticeship?

No, the appren​​ticeship is not complete until the apprentice is found competent by the RTO and this is confirmed by the employer in the workplace.

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: Out of trade apprentices

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 skil​​ls in the workplace. In some cases, this may require further training through 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 and 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: Fair Work Ombudsman 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.

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

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