Government Funded training for Frontline Management
A top insurance company in Australia received over $ 1 million last year to fund their training from the Department of Education. They used this money to train and develop a large number of participants and to provide them with nationally recognised qualifications.
If you are considering implementing a frontline management program, why not take the time to check whether your participants are eligible for government funding through the traineeship scheme.
Read through the guidelines outlined in this article to find out:
What is in it for the organisation
What is in it for the individual
How to access the funding
Who meets the criteria
How does the system work
How to ensure that government-funded traineeships become a valuable tool for self development
What is the downside
How do you ensure that the process is successful
Traditionally there has been no central reference point for seeking clarification on the process of Australian government-funded traineeships, and the confusion is compounded by traineeships being run under auspices of Australian ‘Apprenticeships’. It is no wonder many HR managers become frustrated when attempting to obtain funding for their staff development!
This article demystifies the traineeship process and explains in simple terms how an HR manager can go about determining whether there are government-funded training opportunities for their employees – particularly when it comes to the well-used and highly respected Frontline Management qualification.
What are the benefits to an organisation of introducing Frontline Management qualifications via traineeships?
The frontline management qualification is suitable in a range of different situations including:
- There has been an organisational re-structure and technical experts with little experience have been promoted into team leading or supervisory roles
- The team is not meeting key performance indicators and if management training was introduced this would improve the team’s ability to meet high-performance levels
- There are challenges in the organisation due to a range of different reasons including teams that are lacking in motivation given the world economic turmoil; teams where there are not high levels of trust and commitment or teams that are not engaging with the organisation’s values
- Managers who are dealing with re-structured teams or teams that have merged and need to re-focus on team goals and objectives
The advantages of introducing traineeships in Frontline Management are on three levels:
1. From a national perspective, traineeships are intended to ensure that Australia is competitive against worldwide benchmarks and that skills shortage areas are addressed.
2. From an organisational perspective, traineeships provide a strong opportunity to up-skill employees to higher standards and to ensure that they also meet nationally stipulated requirements. The funding provided through traineeships becomes a useful extension to the learning and development budget of the organisation and a means for the implementation of on-going, consistent training. The Certificate 4 in Frontline Management is an example of a traineeship that is funded in certain states including NSW, ACT and Queensland. The qualification is Australia’s premier management qualification and is suitable for team leaders, supervisors and managers who have team members reporting to them as well as those who manage resources.
3. From an individual perspective, the traineeships leads to a nationally recognised qualification that is portable to any industry sector and a valuable addition to a CV. As the Frontline Management qualification is so highly regarded, the individual benefits from having skills recognised in a formal way and from holding a qualification that opens doors to many opportunities.
Which organisations can apply for funded traineeships in Frontline Management?
Funding is available for registered Australian companies that hold an ABN number. Companies are only eligible to share in the funding scheme that relates specially to their industry. For example, a bank cannot collect funding for a hairdressing qualification.
Federal Government departments are not eligible for funding. The owner of a business is not eligible for traineeship funding.
Who in the organisation is eligible for Government Funding for the Frontline Management qualification?
It is important to recognise that government funding for training is not only dependent on the training program itself but also has specific criteria for the eligibility of candidates.
The main criteria for funding a traineeship are a worker’s:
1. Citizenship status
2. Prior qualifications
3. Employment status
The worker must be either an Australian citizen, permanent resident or New Zealand citizen who has been resident in Australia for at least six months.
There is also funding available for foreign nationals who have been sponsored by an employer with a ‘Trade Skills Training’ visa (471). Visit the Australian Government Department of Immigration and Citizenship’s website for information on Trade
Skills Training visas.
Typically funding is only available when ‘up-skilling’ is occurring. That is, if a worker has previously attended training in a similar area funding is unlikely to be available for this training.
Only nationally recognised qualifications are considered as prior qualifications. For example, a candidate who holds a ‘Microsoft Certified Systems Engineer’ qualification may still be eligible for funding, as this qualification is not nationally recognised.
To confuse the issue, certain nationally recognised qualifications (such as Certificates II, III or IV) are not taken into account in assessing whether funding is available if 7 years have passed since they were completed. Australian Apprenticeship Centres will be able to provide more specific information on which qualifications fall into this category.
Employer – ABC Bank Limited
New Employee Name: John Smith
Previous Qualifications: No previous qualifications
Currently enrolling: Certificate IV in Frontline Management
Funding Available? BC Bank Limited is eligible to receive Government incentive for the up-skilling in this qualification
Employer – ABC Bank Limited
New Employee Name: Jane Smith
Previous Qualifications: Diploma in Financial Services (completed 4 yrs ago)
Currently enrolling: Certificate IV in Frontline Management
Funding Available? ABC Bank Limited is not eligible to receive funding and will bear the costs involved with this qualification.
Candidates must be:
• Undertaking employment in an Australian Apprenticeship in a State or Territory of Australia, excluding Norfolk Island; and
• covered by a Training Contract signed by both the Australian Apprentice Centre and the employer that has been formally approved by a State Training Authority.
• undertaking an accredited program, which leads to a nationally recognised qualification, and includes both paid work and structured training.
The Apprenticeship Centre will also ask specific questions related to industry awards or registered Australian Workplace Agreements or formally approved contracts of employment.
Part-time employees may be eligible for traineeships, under certain circumstances. Check with an Australian Apprenticeship Centre with a specific case in mind.
How does the Payment cycle for the traineeship in frontline management work?
There is a three-month period from the date of the employee signs up onto the traineeship to the date of a claim form being generated by the Apprenticeship Centre and mailed to the employer.
It is the employer’s responsibility to ensure that this claim form is signed by both an employer representative as well as the trainee. This claim form is in turn mailed back to the Apprenticeship Centre and a first payment occurs within approximately 10 days of the return of this claim form.
There are time constraints on claiming Commonwealth funding – if claim forms are not returned within a certain timeframe funding might not be provided.
Joe works for Funtel, a telecommunications company in Bathurst. Joe is signed up on the 1st of August for a Certificate IV in Frontline Management. On the first of November, the Apprenticeship Centre generates and mails the claims form to Joe’s HR manager. Joe’s HR manager, Powan locates Joe to sign the claims form. Powan also signs the form and mails it back to The Apprenticeship Centre on the 15th of November. Powan has previously provided the Apprenticeship Centre with Funtel’s banking details.
By the 25th of November, Funtel receives an initial payment of $1,500.
Upon completion of the traineeship, once the individual has completed the training and a final certificate has been issued by the RTO, the host organisation can apply for the final amount of government funding.
Joe completes his Certificate IV qualification in Frontline Management within 18 months. The Registered Training Organisation issues his certificate and academic record. Powan, Funtel’s HR manager posts an original or JP signed copy of this certificate to the Apprenticeship Centre, together with the Completion form which the Apprenticeship Centre provided.
These documents are scrutinised by the Department of Education and by the relevant Sate Training Authorities.
Approximately three months later, a further $2,500 is deposited into Funtel’s bank account.
Note that completion procedures and time-frames vary from State to State.
Employer Checklist before implementing the traineeship in Frontline Management
The following is a checklist for use by HR professionals when considering the deployment of a traineeship in an organisation.
1. Is the training envisaged suitable for government funding? Frontline Management in certain States is suitable
2. Is the individual eligible for funding?
3. Which RTO (Registered Training Organisation) will you use? Or will training be conducted internally and with certification services provided by an RTO?
4. When will you do the training? Are you prepared to release your staff for the time it will take?
5. How much training will be conducted onsite? Offsite?
6. How will you find an appropriate apprenticeship centre to help you get this done?
Choosing a Registered Training Organisation
Registered Training Organisations (RTOs) are a key component of running a successful traineeship in Frontline Management. The RTO provides training and assessment services, and is also required to issue the nationally recognised qualification certificate.
When choosing an RTO
Be assertive in setting your expectations with RTO’s. It is important to ensure you have fully agreed to the manner in which the frontline management training will be delivered and managed to achieve your desired outcomes.
Some questions to ask RTOs include:
- How flexible are you in terms of delivery?
- Will you adjust the curriculum to make it suitable for our particular workplace?
- Can you work within the timeframes required by our organisation?
- Will you assist us with paperwork required by the apprenticeship centre?
- Will you customise your materials to make them specific to this workplace?
- What requirements do you have in terms of assessment?
- How user-friendly are your assessment tools?
- Will you tailor these to our business requirements?
- What turn-around times do you have for final assessments and certification?
Management Consultancy International consults to global organisations on their learning and development strategies and implements cost-effective frontline management programs that meet the needs of the participants as well as those of the organisation.
The Frontline Management Traineeship Process
- Decide on suitability of traineeships for candidate and business
- Approach Australian Apprenticeship centre and obtains information relating to funding levels for existing workers and new entrants.
- Select Registered Training Organisation to conduct training
- Conduct information session on benefits of qualification and explain process
- Hold a sign-up session with Australian Apprenticeship Centre and complete paperwork
- Receive notification of approval of traineeship
- Consult RTO on the creation of training plans which set out which core and elective units will be completed for the frontline management qualification and timeframe for completion
- Induct trainees into the qualification and assessment requirements
- Commence training according to agreed schedule
- Receive initial claim forms, sign by candidate and employer, return to Australian Apprenticeship Centre
- Initial funds received from Australian Apprenticeship centre
- Monitor training and assessment, receive feedback from RTO
- At six months, Apprenticeship Centre contacts workplace to monitor progress and provide support
- Candidates complete all evidence and submit for final assessment by RTO
- Receive certificate from RTO
- Mail copy of certificate & other documentation to Australian Apprenticeship Centre
- Final payment from Australian Apprenticeship Centre received
- Hold internal graduation ceremony for closure of program
What Traineeship Documentation needs to be completed?
An agreement is signed by three parties at the commencement of a traineeship.
The Registered Training Organisation (RTO) signs the agreement to indicate that they are part of the process and they establish a training plan.
This training plan includes information about the units of competence that are selected for the relevant qualification and also provides details about the logistics of the training and how assessment will take place.
The employer is a party to the agreement and will comply with the requirements of delivering a traineeship in terms of the time provided to the trainee for training and assessment purposes.
The agreement that trainees are required to sign at the commencement of the traineeship include questions such as:
• Are you an Australian citizen?
• Do you have any prior qualifications?
• What is your date of birth?
• Where do you reside?
• How long have you been with this employer?
• What was the last year you attended school?
• What was your highest level of education prior to this qualification?
• Are you employed on a full-time or part-time basis?
• Do you have any disabilities?
• Are you an Aboriginal or a Torres Strait Islander?
The nominated Australian Apprenticeship Centre will provide the workplace with a checklist listing requirements for sign-ups.
Documents which need to be completed
It is a legal requirement for the following forms to be completed:
• Training Contract
• Company ABN copy (confirms the details of the employer)
• Training Plan (RTO completes this section in consultation with the workplace)
Additionally, the Australian Apprenticeship Centre will provide brochures with information such as:
• Employer Information Quick reference guide for Apprentices / Trainees
• Information of possible benefits such as TOT incentives / Living Away from Home Allowance / Wage Support, etc
• Amendment form (relative to particular state of residence)
As an employer you have both legal and moral obligations when training your staff.
All employers who provide training to their staff are obliged to:
• provide a healthy and safe training environment for all staff including those with special needs such as disabled employees
• ensure staff do not experience discrimination or harassment during the training
• provide adequate supervision and support during training
• have appropriate insurance policies for staff who undertake specialised training, such as heavy machinery training
• inform employees of their rights and responsibilities throughout the training
• commit resources necessary to complete agreed training such as safety equipment or computer hardware.
Employers must also observe their usual duties and statutory obligations, such as:
• workers’ compensation
• occupational health and safety
• duty to pay appropriate remuneration
• anti-discrimination policy implementation
• meeting privacy requirements
There are obligations that are not enforced by law, but represent good workplace practice during training. These include:
• reporting and record keeping of training and its outcomes
• adequate resources to support the business while staff are absent for training
• management strategies to deal with issues associated with the training such as individual problems with the training or changing staff roles.
It is suggested that the workplace also set up an internal written training agreement to be signed by both the employer and the trainee. This will ensure that all parties understand what they can expect from one another.
A training agreement will provide you with a reference document from which you can address any concerns that might arise in relation to the training.
Tips for ensuring buy-in to the frontline management traineeship process
• Consult with all stakeholders and union representatives if appropriate
• Conduct transparent and comprehensive needs analysis with potential candidates. If possible, hold focus group sessions or interviews where participants are asked to contribute in an inclusive way to the design of the training
• Communicate the reasons for the training both in writing and face-to-face presentations
• Provide information about the qualification and what it pathways it can open up for the candidates
• Explain how training will be conducted
• Explain the assessment requirements emphasising that assessment is competence based. Competence based assessment is applied to candidates who are not solely tested on their theoretical knowledge but on their application of skills in the workplace
• Assist candidates filling out Apprenticeship forms and agreements
• Be available for questions
• At program launch, encourage senior management participation – this ensures that trainees are aware that the program is being monitored at a senior level
• Encourage ongoing feedback on the progress of the program and how it might be improved
• Be proactively involved in monitoring the progress of the training and gauging whether tangible improvements are being generated in the workplace
Candidates occasionally fear they are moving backward in their career when they see the word ‘apprentice’ on the Australian Apprenticeship Centre forms – it is important to point out that this is in name only
If candidates sense that an employer is merely attempting to provide the training for only financial reasons, there may be negative reactions from employees.
Traineeships in frontline management hold enormous benefits for the organisation and the candidate if applied in a way that makes business sense and that meets the learning and business improvement needs of the organisation.
Management Consultancy International’s award-winning frontline management program is flexible and brings about changes in behaviour and attitude for participants. The program is designed to create a forum for discussion and to ensure that the skills levels of managers are enhanced as they get to grips with useful and practical models that they can implement in ensuring that their teams perform to high levels.
Speak to one of our consultants on 1300768550 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
by Dr Denise Meyerson
Certificate IV in Frontline Management