The term ‘higher apprenticeship’ has recently entered the vocational education and training (VET) lexicon in Australia, partly as a result of the ‘Apprenticeships training — alternative delivery pilots’ program, currently underway and funded by the Australian Government. The 2018 National Partnership Agreement on Skilling Australians Fund also refers to ‘higher apprenticeships’.
The Apprenticeships training — alternative delivery pilots are being funded under two streams, with stream two focusing on higher-level apprenticeships, where ‘higher-level’ is defined as diploma or associate degree. The stream two pilots do not elaborate on what is meant by the term ‘apprenticeship’.
In the National Partnership Agreement on Skilling Australians Fund (Australian Government 2018a), a policy definition of higher apprenticeships for the purposes of the agreement is:
Higher apprenticeships combine a program of structured on-the-job training with formal study, with the study component leading to the award of a VET qualification at the Australian Qualifications Framework level 5 (diploma) or level 6 (advanced diploma).
What can be gleaned from these definitions is that the word ‘higher’ in ‘higher apprenticeships’ refers to higher-level qualifications, including higher education qualifications, at the diploma level (AQF 5) and above, and that the term ‘apprenticeship’ can be an arrangement that does not explicitly require a contract of training.
By comparison, there is a long-standing and widely understood definition of an apprenticeship as a contract between an employer and an apprentice (training contract), one that involves a mixture of formal accredited training and on-the-job skills development as part of paid employment. Training contracts are prescribed and registered under states and territories’ legislation. Apprenticeships have traditionally been exclusively confined to a VET qualification…
SOURCE: NCVER. “Higher apprenticeships in Australia: what are we talking about?.” NCVER, 4 April 2019.
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