Joint efforts by the Fair Work Ombudsman and Victorian Registration and Qualifications Authority (VRQA) to improve compliance with federal workplace laws relating to apprentices and trainees will continue under a new Memorandum of Understanding (MoU).
The new pact, co-signed by Deputy Fair Work Ombudsman (Operations) Michael Campbell and VRQA Director Lynn Glover, builds on the strong cooperation between the two agencies cemented under a previous MoU.
The VRQA is a statutory authority responsible for the regulation of apprenticeships and traineeships in Victoria.
Under the previous MoU, the two agencies have benefitted from enhanced information sharing on matters of mutual interest and concern, leading to improved compliance and enforcement outcomes in the sector.
In one example, information provided by the Fair Work Ombudsman to the VRQA led to an investigation which resulted in an employer being disqualified from hiring trainees due to its failure to ensure its trainees received any training.
The new MoU reaffirms the agencies’ commitment to providing mutual assistance and support and exchanging information, including in relation to significant education, compliance and enforcement activities.
The Fair Work Ombudsman and VRQA will also meet formally at least twice a year to discuss strategic and operational issues concerning the employment of apprentices and trainees.
Mr Campbell welcomed the VRQA’s continued commitment to cooperation and exchange of information.
“After a very successful collaboration under the terms of the first MoU, the Fair Work Ombudsman looks forward to building upon this partnership as both agencies continue to work together to improve workplace compliance in this sector,” Mr Campbell said.
Ms Glover said she was pleased to be able to renew the formal information sharing arrangement.
“The MoU positions us to provide employers, apprentices and trainees with the best possible services to help them achieve quality employment and training outcomes. I look forward to working with the Fair Work Ombudsman over the next two years,” Ms Glover said.
The Fair Work Ombudsman has similar MoUs in place with South Australia’s Department of State Development as well as a number of industry bodies including the Accommodation Association of Australia, the Restaurant and Catering Association and the National Union of Workers.
The agency also recently launched two new guides to assist apprentices and their employers to understand their workplace rights and obligations which can be accessed at the Apprentice entitlements and Hiring employees pages on the website.
Employers and employees seeking assistance from the Fair Work Ombudsman can visit www.fairwork.gov.au or call the Fair Work Infoline on 13 13 94. An interpreter service is available on 13 14 50.