Apprenticeship Network Provider Vs. Registered Training Organisation

Hiring an apprentice can be a tough process for an employer. With so many terms, organisations and acronyms to get your head around, it can be difficult to know who to get in touch with about what. Though every single one of these organisations is designed to help you make the apprenticeship process as pain free as possible, it's easier to navigate you're way if you know who is who.

So let's look at two of the most important organisations – what's the difference between an Australian Apprenticeship Support Network Provider and a Registered training organisation (RTO)? Who are they, why do you need them and what can they help you with?

What is Australian Apprenticeship Support Network Provider?

Your Apprenticeship Network Provider will be your key partner and the place you can go to for help at any time. In its simplest form a Network Provider is an organisation contracted by the federal government to provide a free service to employers that supports both apprentices and employers through the apprenticeship journey.

You are required by the government to take up the services of a Network Provider when enrolling an apprentice – for example, when you come to drawing up your training contract for someone you want to take on as an apprentice. Or you can get in touch even earlier and enlist their help for selecting and hiring the right apprentice for your business.

You must choose an Australian Network Provider that works within your state, but otherwise it's up to you who you partner with. 

What services do Australian Apprenticeship Support Network Providers offer?

Apprenticeship Network Providers offer a wide range of services free of charge to employers and also their apprentices. Their main aim is to ensure that apprentices successfully complete their chosen qualification and employers are given the help and support to play their part in this. The services that an Apprentice Network Provider offers can be roughly summed up into three areas:

  • Recruitment services.
  • Administrational support services.
  • Mentoring services.

1. Recruitment services are designed to aid employers who want help hiring an apprentice that will fit into their business. Apprentice Network Providers are able to match apprentices with businesses by providing screening, skills tests and assistance with hiring so that employers find an apprentice who will succeed in their unique work environment.

2. Administrational support services are those that help employers and apprentices with the standard processes involved in apprenticeships. This includes administrative support, payment processing (for government incentive awards), registering apprentices and help drawing up the formal training document.

3. Mentoring services refer to the more personal support that Network Providers offer. These services are designed to look at each individual employer and apprentice and ensure both are successful. This will include assigning an apprentice mentor who will have regular visits and be available on call to provide support. The Network Provider can also help sort out any conflict issues or personal struggles that an apprentice may be having to deal with. In this role they work intimately with both employers and apprentices.

What is a Registered Training Organisation?

A Registered Training Organisation, often simply referred to as an RTO,  is an educational business that is registered through the Australian Skills Quality Authority (ASQA). They are tasked with delivering a scope of nationally accredited qualifications that will qualify apprentices in the skills they need to pursue their careers. Essentially they provide the off-the-job training for apprentices and trainees.

RTOs include trade schools but can also be colleges, schools or education providers that deliver a range of skills training such as literacy, numeracy, diplomas etc.

RTOs require fees to access their services. In the case of apprenticeships the employer is responsible for both selecting the RTO and paying the fees required.

What services do RTOs provide?

The primary role of a Registered Training Provider is to deliver training that applies to the specific qualification apprentices are undertaking. Many also provide other service such as student support and overall workplace awareness.

Registered training organisations have different training delivery methods.RTOs differ greatly on how they deliver their training. For example some may be classroom based while others are onsite.

RTOs must also successfully enroll students, provide clear information on their fees structure, and give details as to pre-assessment criteria, the duration of the course and student responsibilities.

One of the main differentiators between RTOs is their method of training delivery. Gone are the days where all qualifications were taught the same. Now there is a wide range of teaching options to fit in with personal preference and working patterns. For example training could be delivered:

  • In a traditional classroom setting.
  • Via online courses.
  • On the job.
  • In a day release format, where apprentices attend one day every week.
  • In a block release format, where apprentices attend for blocks of time such as weeks at a time.

When choosing the best RTO for your apprentices it is best to consider which facilities provide the most fitting form of delivery and weigh this against fees.

Remember that you can ask your Apprentice Network Provider for help in choosing the best RTO for you. However they will not be able to give any specific recommendations. Rather they can help you to better understand your needs and make a more informed choice.

If you're looking to take on an apprentice and want the support of an experienced and caring Apprentice Network Provider, get in touch with MAS National today.