Training and work placements during coronavirus (COVID-19)

Continued operation of SBAT employment, work placements and training

Students undertaking school-based apprenticeships and traineeships (SBATs) including Head Start apprentices and trainees (HSATs) may continue their employment in permitted industries or workplaces that can continue to operate within reduced capacity through the Stage 4 restrictions and Stage 3 restrictions.

Advice on permitted industries can be found at Business and industry stage 4 restrictions

Employment component

Employers are required to maintain a suitable work environment with appropriate physical distancing and hygiene measures that comply with either the Stage 4 or Stage 3 restrictions that are in place. If the student, student's family or the school have any queries or concerns, these should be raised with the employer.

Worker permit scheme

Under coronavirus (COVID-19) Stage 4 restrictions in place across metropolitan Melbourne, a permit is required for permitted workers to attend a workplace and travel between their home and workplace.

It is the employer's responsibility to issue a permit to employees (including SBATs) who are required to work on-site if the employee's work is permitted and cannot be completed from home.

All employees required to travel to and from work must carry their worker permit or have a digital version available on their device.

The permit can be downloaded from Worker permit scheme.

Training

Consistent with Vocational Education Training (VET) advice for all students across the state, students undertaking SBATs or HSATs must only access the training component of the SBAT through remote and online learning during the period of restrictions in Stage 3 or 4 areas, unless it is for mandatory assessment and it is not reasonably practicable for those assessments to be undertaken from the premises.   

The employer, the Registered Training Organisation (RTO) and the school should discuss whether a variation to the SBAT/HSATs training plan is needed to reflect the change in circumstances.
 
Variations to the training plan should consider:

  • how far through the training plan the student has progressed
  • the extent to which units can be completed meaningfully without a student being in the workplace or at an RTO facility
  • what practicable alternatives are available to the student to enable them to complete their certificate.

If SBAT students continue to work in permitted industries, they must also complete the Permitted worker permit. Schools should have oversight of the students in these circumstances.

In Head Start clusters, coordinators will continue to provide support to Head Start students to ensure that work and training continues where possible under the appropriate safety environment and in industries permitted to operate.

Traineeships and apprenticeships suspended or cancelled due to coronavirus (COVID-19)

Where students cannot meet the conditions of their training contract, the most immediate action is to suspend or cancel the training contract.

The maximum time allowed for suspension of a training contract will be extended from three to six months. This will allow the student to keep their connection to their employer and restart their workplace-based training to complete their SBAT or HSAT when work-based training becomes available.

Suspensions to apprenticeships must be mutually agreed by either:

  • the apprentice and employer
  • order of the Victorian Regulations and Qualifications Authority (VRQA).

The employer or trainee can suspend traineeships.

VET coordinators in schools, Head Start Coordinators, and Group Training Organisations (GTO) should help students to continue training with their RTO while their training contract is suspended. If training is to continue, the training plan should be extended to allow for skills to be embedded in the workplace, and employment hours to be completed later.

For more information, visit VRQA

If apprentices or trainees have had their training suspended or have lost their jobs completely, you should register with the Victorian Government's program for retrenched apprentices and trainees.

Priority support for other opportunities or employment

Employers should contact their Australian Apprenticeship Support Network provider for advice about options for the student to cancel and restart their apprenticeship or traineeship with a new employer.

Where a suspension or cancellation happens, students should be supported to access other employment opportunities through:

  • VET Coordinators in schools
  • Head Start Coordinators
  • Local Learning and Employment Network (LLEN)
  • GTO's.

Students with cancelled SBATs/HSATs can enrol in existing RTO training at VET Certificate II or III level to allow them access to VET training hours to support 2020 completion of their senior secondary certificate.

The VRQA provides more information on the cancellation of an apprenticeship or traineeship

Finding new RTO providers if training delivery is cancelled

RTOs may be unable to continue to deliver training to SBATs/HSATs if it is impractical for certain units of competency to be delivered remotely, or safely in accordance with the advice from the Victorian Chief Health Officer. Department regional and area-based pathways staff and LLENs can support schools to find new RTO and training options. Support should be provided by schools and RTOs to transfer credits to the same qualification with a new RTO, another qualification, or for use in VCE/VCAL.

Government schools can access the Know Your RTO online advisory tool to identify RTOs offering flexible delivery to school students.

ASQA has developed guidance on delivering training during coronavirus (COVID-19). From Monday 3 August 2020, most delivery of VET and ELICOS courses in Melbourne must be delivered remotely (distance learning) or delayed if distance delivery cannot be provided.

School flexibility to support VET

During the first week of Term 4 (Monday 5 to Fiday 9 October) VCE and VCAL students can only attend on-site for essential assessments, including the General Achievement Test (GAT) on Wednesday 7 October.

In metropolitan Melbourne, from 12 October, Year 11 and 12 students will attend on-site schooling full time, and Year 10 students enrolled in a VCE or VCAL program will attend on-site for these classes.

In regional Victoria, all students (including VCE and VCAL students) will return to full-time on-site schooling by Friday 16 October.

Schools can stagger the return of different year levels as appropriate during this week. This decision can be made by individual schools or networks/clusters of schools.

Exploring additional or flexible arrangements

Schools and RTOs are encouraged to provide additional or flexible training arrangements in Term 4 so students can catch up on required training, as well as exploring options for delivery over the school holidays and into early 2021 if necessary.

Schools will use minimum mandatory requirements to ensure students can complete VCE and VCAL in 2020

Continuity of learning for VCE and VCAL students is a priority for secondary schools. Schools and RTOs may wish to consider timetabling changes to accommodate extra flexible training arrangements when coronavirus (COVID-19) restrictions are lifted. This could also include changing a student's VET enrolment, where other VET units can be offered that contribute to the VET certificate that the student is enrolled in.

Schools should consider working with RTOs to confirm how training and assessment can be changed to help students achieve the minimum requirements for VCE or VCAL.

Structured Workplace Learning Recognition can be used to provide credit towards VCE or VCAL.

A small number of students undertaking VET may have the award of their VCE or VCAL delayed until the beginning of 2021 so they can complete mandatory practical or workplace learning requirements. This ensures they're not disadvantaged by the lack of hands-on practice resulting from coronavirus (COVID-19) restrictions.

Schools and education providers with questions and concerns regarding the impact of the coronavirus (COVID-19) on the delivery of VET programs should contact the VCAA at vet.vcaa@education.vic.gov.au

The latest advice for schools for VCE, VCAL and VET programs is available via the VCAA at: VCAA school and educator advice

Practical guidance for RTO delivery during this period – including face-to-face and online delivery – has been published by ASQA, the national VET regulator.

Schools and RTOs will be given extra time to enrol, deliver and assess competency for VET

The VCAA has established procedures so that all students receive fair and valid results.

To support students to complete their certificates, schools and RTOs will be given extra time to enrol, deliver and assess competency for VET in 2020. 

Key revisions to the 2020 administration dates are as follows:

Thursday 27 August 2020

This is last day for VET Assessment Plans. This data must contain all 2020 VCE, VCAL and VET enrolment data that is known and available to schools. After this date, VASS will not allow schools to modify Assessment Plans or Registered Training Organisation (RTO) details for scored VCE VET programs.

Wednesday 7 October 2020

VCE and VCAL students can attend on-site for the General Achievement Test (GAT).

Monday 9 November 2020

VCE examination period begins. Examination period finishes on 2 December 2020.

Monday 23 November 2020

This is the last day for VCE, VCAL and VET units of competency enrolment or withdrawal. This is the last day to complete the entry of all VCE, VCAL and VET enrolments in 2020.

The revised dates allow for VCE and VCAL students to get their results and ATARs before the end of 2020. Further information can be found at VCAA 2020 Revised Administration dates

For further information on VET delivery contact the VCAA via vet.vcaa@education.vic.gov.au

The VCAA will keep schools informed via a notice to schools

Online tools for collaboration and learning

Refer to our requirements for using technologies to support flexible or remote teaching and learning