The User Choice program provides a public funding contribution towards the cost of training and assessment for eligible Queensland apprentices and trainees.
The program provides the flexibility for apprentices, trainees and their employers to select a preferred registered training organisation (RTO) from a list of pre-qualified suppliers (PQS) for the delivery of accredited training to meet their specific needs.
Not all apprenticeships and traineeships attract government funding. The funding priority will determine the level of public funds contributed to training regardless of whether the qualification is an apprenticeship or traineeship.
Can I start an apprenticeship or traineeship if I am still at school?
Yes you can. School-based apprenticeships and traineeships (SATs) are available in many occupations in Queensland. Students should be in either year 10, 11 or 12, but may be able to enter a SAT prior to starting year 10 in exceptional circumstances. In these circumstances, a business case must be submitted to the Queensland Department of Employment, Small Business and Training and approved prior to commencing the SAT.
The SAT is undertaken as part of the high school studies. A SAT employment and/or training arrangement must impact on the school timetable for the program to be considered school-based. Apprenticeships or traineeships which do not have an impact on the student’s school timetable are not considered a SAT.
All SATs must be supported by the employer, the school, a supervising registered training organisation (SRTO) referred to as the training organisation, and the parent or guardian. SATs are paid for the time spent working with their employer.
SATs receive funding for their training aligned to the priority level of the qualification.
SATs are exempt from paying student fees under the User Choice program while they are still at school.
Parties to the training contract for a SAT should be aware that there are a number of conditions that apply to the training contract, including the amount of training that a SAT can do while they are still attending school. There are also conditions related to the transition of a SAT into full-time or part-time apprenticeship/traineeship arrangements once school has been completed.
Visit the Apprenticeships Info website for more information on school-based apprenticeships and traineeships.
To be eligible for a government contribution towards the costs of training, an apprentice or trainee must have entered into a training contract for a qualification that is funded by the Queensland Department of Employment, Small Business and Training and be registered in the Queensland Department of Employment, Small Business and Training’s registration system DELTA. The contract commencement date or recommencement date must be on or after 1 July 2010, and the training provider selected to deliver the training must hold a pre-qualified supplier status for the nominated qualification.
The government contribution for a User Choice funding contribution is detailed in the apprentice or trainee’s letter of registration from the Queensland Department of Employment, Small Business and Training, and is subject to student eligibility and their selection of an eligible PQS as their SRTO.
Apprentices and trainees can only receive one government contribution for a User Choice funded qualification at any single point in time, i.e. a student is not funded to undertake two apprenticeships or traineeships at the same time.
In addition, apprentices and trainees, including SATs, can only receive a maximum of two government funding contributions under the current User Choice Program.
There are other rules specifically related to funding for SATs, so students and their parents/guardians should discuss their intentions with their school’s vocational education and training coordinator prior to signing up as a SAT. Australian Apprenticeship Support Network providers are another good source of information.
Usually students are required to pay a co-contribution fee. In some cases though, an RTO may provide either a partial or full exemption for a student in respect to the co-contribution fee. SATs are not required to pay a co-contribution fee while they are still at school, but may (visit the Fee-free training for Year 12 graduates information) be required to pay fees once their training contract has been converted to full-time or part-time post school. Your SRTO will provide in detail its fees and charges policy, including full costs method of collection, refunds and exemptions prior to enrolment.