Wassim asks: I'm going to start an apprenticeship to be a mechanic next month. I'm worried because I can’t afford to take time off from work to go to TAFE. My sister says I should be paid when I go to TAFE. Is she right?
Congratulations Wassim! I have some good news for you – your sister is completely right. Your new boss should pay you for the time you spend away from work at training. Not only that, but the time you’re at trade school is included in your ordinary hours of work. In other words, it’s taken to go towards making up the time you’re expected to work each week.
To make sure you start your new career knowing exactly what you’re entitled to, here’s a list to use as a guideline:
- Most importantly, you should receive a Training Plan. This will set out details of the training you will receive and how your skills will be assessed. You must also receive a Training Contract. These are both legal documents so make sure you keep them safe.
- Any personal protective equipment should be provided to you free.
- Your boss must pay you superannuation.
- Your pay and entitlements MUST be in line with (or above) what’s set down in the Award for your trade or your EBA if there’s one in place at your work.
- You must have the cost of your TAFE and training fees and any textbooks paid for or reimbursed.
- You should have a lunch break (this is usually 30 to 60 minutes)
- You must be given paid time off work to participate in any training, whether it’s a shorter amount of time weekly or a longer, one-off “block”
- You must be given a proper opportunity to learn your trade – in other words to put into practice in a safe environment the skills you learn at training.
- Your workplace must be free from harassment, bullying and bad treatment.
It’s not easy to get an apprenticeship so good on you. You know what? I think you deserve a present, and I have the perfect idea of what to buy yourself – membership to the union that covers your new trade. It means that you can start work next month knowing from your very first day that you have someone in your corner looking out for you. You can even claim it on your tax. Why not give us a call on our toll free number 1300 486 466? Or if you prefer you can fill out this form https://www.australianunions.org.au/join We’ll help you find out who you should join and how much the fees would be. It really is the best thing you can do to give your new career the best possible start.
I wish you all the best in your new job. And I hope we speak to you soon. Congratulations again and here’s to your first step in becoming a mechanic.