They Don’t Count

Gaining or holding formal qualifications can set a person up for a lifetime career. Holding appropriate qualifications that can lead to lifelong careers, tradespeople generally make a good income and enjoy well deserved respect.

As part of NOVA’s commitment to ensuring our jobseekers get the most from our program, staff are encouraged to promote Traineeships and Apprenticeships wherever possible. At NOVA staff understand that formal training contributes to long term employability.

Jobseeker training is used appropriately to meet work shortages & the local needs of employers.

All Disability Employment Services (DES) are subject to rolling performance appraisal and this includes recording the numbers for participation in Apprenticeships

But there was a catch that has had unexpected and negative consequences: A training ‘outcome’ carried the same value as an employment outcome. Get a job or enrol in a course was given the same status in DES performance – a loophole waiting to be misused!

In this environment contract ‘gaming’ led to exploitation of jobseekers, no employment attached and unaware that participation in a training program makes them ineligible for further free training that would otherwise be packaged with their employment.

By way of comparison NOVA staff are trained to match a candidate to a career and we don’t disappoint people with training where no prospect for employment exists! As a result approximately 15% of all placements include a formal training component.

You would think the Federal Government would be only too pleased to recognise this fact and the benefits of engaging in formal training.

Sadly, a large number of Apprenticeships and Traineeships fail to be counted because employers want a period of time to pass in probation before committing to sign up a new Apprentice of Trainee.

While this attitude is understandable, missing out on the recognition of signup creates a false (negative) opinion of people with disability and their ability to work as tradespeople.

Internally, NOVA staff get credit for every Apprenticeship they achieve. We do this because we want to showcase our jobseekers talents and that means staff are required to promote formal training whenever opportunity exists, regardless of how long the worker has been employed.

Sadly these late start Apprenticeships and Traineeships don’t ‘count’ when it comes to assessing performance unless the worker starts their job and commence training at the same time.

This approach, which is part of an overall mess around study and DES, fails to recognise the risk taken in a signup of an untested employees where, particularly for new entrants, business owners can be disadvantaged.

What’s the takeaway for jobseekers that want a job and formal qualifications?

Ask your DES provider if they will help you get an Apprenticeship or a Traineeship after the probationary period of your employment?

If the answer is ‘yes’ chances are that you have found a decent provider because the Federal Government allocates no financial or performance gain for late start Apprenticeships and Traineeships

What is the solution?

Until such times as the powers that be sort the DES sector I’m afraid success is in your hands – don’t be afraid to ask and look for a DES provider that aims high.