Manufacturing award changes focus on apprentices

Analysis

Manufacturing award changes focus on apprentices

On 21 March 2014, the Fair Work Commission made a determination varying the following clause of the Manufacturing and Associated Industries and Occupations Award 2010.

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On 21 March 2014, the Fair Work Commission made a determination varying the following clause of the Manufacturing and Associated Industries and Occupations Award 2010.
 
A full bench of the Fair Work Commission (FWC) reviewed a proposal to vary competency based wage progression (CBWP) provisions in Manufacturing and Associated Industries and Occupations Award 2010.
 
The previous provision, which requires employer agreement, prevents registered training organisation (RTO) funding pressures from leading to inappropriate early completion. Previous award provisions didn't make it clear how to make the necessary decisions for resolving disputes, making it difficult to implement changes effectively.
 
The variation includes additional provisions, as previously introduced in five other awards, to provide a broadly consistent set of processes in major awards in all states.
 
The full bench of the FWC determined that provision should be made for circumstances where "agreement in relation to achievement of competency" can't be reached within a reasonable timeframe.
 
The new clause reads as follows: 
 
15.18 Competency based progression
 
(a) For the purpose of competency based wage progression in clauses 25 and 26 an apprentice will be paid at the relevant wage rate for the next stage of their apprenticeship if: 
 
(i) Competency has been achieved in the relevant proportion of the total units of competency specified in clause 25.7 for that stage of the apprenticeship. The units of competency which are included in the relevant proportion must be consistent with any requirements in the training plan; and
 
(ii) Any requirements of the relevant State/Territory apprenticeship authority and any additional requirements of the relevant training package with respect to the demonstration of competency and any minimum necessary work experience requirements are met; and 
 
(iii) either: 
 
(A) the Registered Training Organisation (RTO), the employer and the apprentice agree that the abovementioned requirements have been met; or 
 
(B) the employer has been provided with written advice that the RTO has assessed that the apprentice meets the abovementioned requirements in respect to all the relevant units of competency and the employer has not advised the RTO and the apprentice of any disagreement with that assessment within 21 days of receipt of the advice. 
 
(b) If the employer disagrees with the assessment of the RTO referred to in clause 15.18(a)(iii)(B) above, and the dispute cannot be resolved by agreement between the RTO, the employer and the apprentice, the matter may be referred to the relevant State/Territory apprenticeship authority for determination. If the matter is not capable of being dealt with by such authority it may be dealt with in accordance with the dispute resolution clause in this award. For the avoidance of doubt, disputes concerning other apprenticeship progression provisions of this award may be dealt with in accordance with the dispute resolution clause. 
 
(c) For the purposes of this clause, the training package containing the qualification specified in the contract of training for the apprenticeship, sets out the assessment requirements for the attainment of the units of competency that make up the qualification. The definition of “competency” utilised for the purpose of the training packages and for the purpose of this clause is the consistent application of knowledge and skill to the standard of performance required in the workplace. It embodies the ability to transfer and apply skills and knowledge to new situations and environments. 
 
(d) The apprentice will be paid the wage rate referred to in clause 15.18(a) from the first full pay period to commence on or after the date on which an agreement or determination is reached in accordance with clause 15.18(a)(iii) or on a date as determined under the dispute resolution process in clause 15.18(b).
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