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Hair & Beauty Australia Industry Association


Posted October 30, 2017

Last week, Hair and Beauty Australia informed members of the changes being implemented to the Apprenticeships & Trainees Act as soon as we ourselves heard the news from the NSW Department of Industry. These changes have significant implications for salon owners and future apprentices, and today we have the breakdown on the key takeaways from the changes to The Act, and what it means for your salon. While right now these changes are only applicable for NSW-Based salons, these changes may have knock-on implications for other states, and other states may soon find similar amendments and changes being implemented in their relevant policy.



There is the implementation of new disputes handling processes for issues raised between salon owners and apprentices. The Vocational Training Review Panel has been abolished and instead there will be the introduction of a Conciliator who will work with both parties to come to a mutually agreed resolution. If no agreement can be reached, then salon owners and apprentices are referred to the Commissioner for Vocational Training and any appeals from here will still go to the NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal (NCAT). For salon owners, this offers an opportunity to quickly and easily solve disputes with your apprentice with the support of an impartial third party, without having to go before a Panel quite so quickly.




New penalties apply for failure to lodge a Training Plan. The nominated Registered Training Organisation must consult with the employer about the progress of any apprentice, including 6 monthly reviews of Training Plans. Training Services NSW Quality Assurance will now monitor training plans and evidence of employer consultation. This ensures that all apprentices are given equal opportunity across the industry and helps ensure the standard of apprentices being output in the hair and beauty industry remains high.


Importantly, an employer may notify the Commissioner of Vocational Training if they intend to terminate the employment of an apprentice or trainee if there is a downturn in work. This offers greater flexibility for salon owners in a fluctuating market, but also increases their responsibility to apprentices. There are increased maximum penalties, including “on-the-spot” fines that can be imposed by designated officers after due warnings for violations. HABA encourage all salon owners to take on apprentices, but it is not something to be entered into lightly.





Previously, apprentices could graduate with a Proficiency Certificate, a Craft Certificate or a Completion Certificate. The Craft and Completion Certificates have now been abolished, and only Certificate of Proficiency issued on successful completion. The Certificate of Proficiency means that an apprentice or trainee has completed the qualification from the registered training organisation and has been deemed competent by the employer to industry standards. To gain their trade recognition, apprentices will have to go through a Registered Training Provider approved by Training Services NSW. The process will involve recognition of current competency, recognition of prior learning and the Commissioner of Vocational Training can seek a Skills/Assessment Trade Test if necessary. Successful applicants will qualify for a Certificate of Proficiency.


This means for salon owners that the process of signing off your apprentice as competent in any skill or module from their course is more important than ever. If you don’t believe that the apprentice is competent in the skill and can perform it at a standard that customers will pay for (even if it is at a discounted rate) don’t sign them off. Simple.


These changes to the Apprenticeship & Trainee Act are important for all salon owners to know, as it directly affects the day-to-day management of your apprentice and their apprenticeship. These changes will be implemented in stages, starting in early 2018 and the team at Hair and Beauty Australia will be keeping a close eye on these changes to The Act as they are implemented. HABA will keep salon owners up to date with when these amendments come into effect so that you can continue to stay compliant in your treatment of apprentices, protecting you from legal action and potential fines. Stay informed and stay in front with your HABA Membership.





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