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VU's apprenticeship revolution

Williamstown builder John Robb is pleased that his carpentry apprentices are spending more time on the job and less time at trade school under Victoria University's new approach to apprenticeship training.

TradeApps, which is being rolled out across 14 VU trade areas including hairdressing, hospitality, boatbuilding, carpentry and painting, is a win all-round. Apprentices can complete their TAFE training more quickly, employers have their apprentices on the job more hours, and VU's taskforce of mobile teachers can assess apprentices' skills on real-life projects.

For employers like John, who has taken on about 10 Victoria University apprentices during his 25 years as a western suburbs builder, the new approach is long overdue.

"Many apprentices don't like being in the classroom, they want to be on the job," he said. "Now I'm paying them to learn at work, not at school."

TradeApps is the University's response to the Victorian Government's new competency-based completion policy that emphasises what a person can do in the workplace, instead of the time required to learn it. Through on-going collaboration with industry, businesses and employers, VU is among the first training organisations to revitalise its apprenticeship training.

VU's new system can reduce the time apprentices spend at school from 18 weeks over a three or four-year apprenticeship to just a few weeks, depending on how quickly they prove they've mastered necessary skills.

TradeApps begins with a comprehensive conversation between the apprentice, the employer and the University to identify the skills the apprentice will learn at VU, and those that can be learned in the workplace.  A customised training program provides flexibility, quality and balance between being on the tools and on campus.

"We're making it easier for employers to understand what they and their apprentice are required to do," said VU Deputy Vice Chancellor and Director TAFE Professor Anne Jones. "We'll be taking away some of the cumbersome paperwork and complex TAFE language to keep things as simple as possible."

For more information email [email protected] or phone 9919 7346.

Professor Anne Jones is available for interview.

Media Contact:
Ann Marie Angebrandt, Media Officer

Marketing and Communications Department, Victoria University
Ph: (03) 9919 5487; mobile:  0403 556 001; email: [email protected]

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