|Description of this FunctionDescription of this Function|
The Master and Apprentice Act and the Employers and Employees Act extended the English common law on apprenticeship to Victoria and made certain additional provisions. The Factories and Shops Acts introduced further additional provisions, among other things providing for the determination by Wages Boards of conditions of employment applicable to apprentices, and such provisions were incorporated in the Labour and Industry Act 1953.
The Apprenticeship Act 1927 (No.3546), operative from 8 May 1928, provided for the appointment of an Apprenticeship Commission (VA 899) to administer the Act. The members of the Commission represented the Chamber of Manufacturers and the Trades Hall Council. The first meeting of the Commission was held on 27 July 1928.
Matters to be dealt with by the Commission included:
- proclamation of apprenticeship trade
- encouragement of apprenticeship in proclaimed trades
- determination of prepatory educational and minimum age standards for apprenticeship prescribing conditions of apprenticeship
- general supervision over the practical and theoretical training of apprentices
- prescribing standards of efficiency and awarding certificates upon completion of the apprenticeship
- ensuring all apprentices were properly indentured and registered
- deciding questions of difference arising between employers and apprentices.
In the early stages the activities of the Commission were confined mainly to consideration of general lines of policy to be pursued, carrying out investigations in connection with trades suitable for proclamation as apprenticeship trades and establishing the general regulations which formed the basis of the scheme for apprenticeship trades.
The first trades proclaimed as apprenticeship trades under the Act were those relating to Plumbing and Gasfitting (proclaimed on 10 October 1928). Following the proclamation a Trade Committee, consisting of three representatives of the Employers and three representatives of the Employees' organisations concerned was appointed to confer with the Commission in the preparation of draft regulations and to co-operate with the Commission in the supervision and the administration of the Act.
Trade Committees appointed following the proclamation of trades as apprenticeship trades include the following:
- Plumbing and Gasfitting (Metropolitan District), Dated 10/10/1928
- Carpentry and Joinery (Metropolitan District), Dated 28/11/1928
- Painting, Decorating and Signwriting (Metropolitan District), Dated 28/11/1928
- Plastering (Metropolitan District), Dated 28/11/1928
- Fibrous Plastering (Metropolitan District), Dated 17/02/1937
- Bricklaying (Metropolitan District), Dated 18/12/1946
- Engineering (Metropolitan District), Dated 01/04/1936
- Electrical (Metropolitan District), Dated 17/07/1929
- Motor Mechanics (Metropolitan District), Dated 05/03/1930
- Moulding (Metropolitan District), Dated 13/01/1932
- Boilermaking (Metropolitan District), Dated 01/12/1937
- Sheet Metal (Metropolitan District), Dated 25/05/1938
- Aircraft Mechanic (Metropolitan District), Dated 16/10/1946
- Electroplating (Metropolitan District), Dated 07/05/1947
- Radio Tradesman (Metropolitan District), Dated 15/06/1951
- Bread Making (Metropolitan District), Dated 14/12/1938
- Pastrycooking (Metropolitan District), Dated 14/12/1938
- Butchering (Metropolitan District), Dated 11/10/1939
- Cooking (Metropolitan District), Dated 18/05/1940
- Bootmaking (Metropolitan District), Dated 13/01/1932
- Printing and Allied Trades (Metropolitan District), Dated 27/02/1929
- Hairdressing (Metropolitan District), Dated 02/12/1941
- Dental Mechanic (Metropolitan District), Dated 10/12/1947
- Watchmaking (Metropolitan District), Dated 03/11/1948
- Furniture (Metropolitan District), Dated 06/11/1951.
In accordance with the provisions of the Act, the Apprenticeship Commission was assisted by special Advisory Committees which were set up in country areas to advise the commission on local matters pertaining to apprenticeship. These Advisory Committees performed somewhat similar functions to those performed by Trade Committees and were of greater assistance, particularly where varying local conditions affected circumstances.
Early proclamation of apprenticeship trades applied only to the Metropolitan District. The first proclamation outside the Metropolitan District was made in 1938 (extending the area of proclamation of the Plumbing and Gasfitting Trades to Ballarat and Geelong). Since then the area of proclamation of most of the major apprenticeship trades has been extended to cover the whole State.
Although most apprentices were employed pursuant to the Apprenticeship Acts, others were employed subject to the conditions determined by the relevant Wages Boards under the Factories and Shops Acts, subsequently Labour and Industry Act 1953, which did not require the registration of indentures and which allowed for the employment of unapprenticed trainees (known as improvers).
Apprenticeship remained for many years the principle means for training skilled tradespeople in Victoria.
In 1969 the Master and Apprentice Act was repealed. The Apprenticeship Amendment Act 1971 (No.8174), operative from 1 January 1972, repealed those sections of the Employers and Employees Act which related to apprenticeship. The Labour and Industry (Amendment) Act 1971 (No.8211) repealed the apprenticeship provisions of the Labour and Industry Act. The Statute Law on apprenticeship was therefore consolidated into the Apprenticeship Act following a recommendation of the Commission.
Until the passing of the Apprenticeship Amendment Act 1971 the Apprenticeship Commission only dealt with proclaimed apprenticeship trades (proclaimed trades were prohibited from employing unapprenticed learners). There were also apprentices in non-proclaimed trades. The 1971 Act provided for such trades to be proclaimed while allowing the employment of unapprenticed learners ie. that apprenticeship in the trade is voluntary. This provision was introduced to maintain a uniform policy on apprenticeship matters and to enable the Commission to control the registration of indentures and settle disputes between parties.
The Industrial Training Act 1975 repealed the Apprenticeship Act 1958 (and amending Acts) expanding the notion of industrial training to include "pre-apprenticeship training" and "adult training" courses. Under the provisions of the Act the apprenticeship scheme was also extended into the State government sphere of operation and into the agriculture industry. In addition the legislation provided for the constitution of Industry Advisory Committees with the function of advising the Commission on the skilled manpower requirements of each industry and the measures necessary to correct any likely shortage or surplus of skilled tradesmen in any industry.
The Industrial Training Commission (VA 900) succeeded the Apprenticeship Commission on 2 August 1975, having been established under the Industrial Training Act 1975 to oversee industrial training in Victoria. An Industrial Training Division was established at this time in the Department of Labour and Industry (VA 1027) to provide administrative support to the Commission, to supply information and advice to the public on industrial training, to investigate complaints and to ensure the provisions of the Act were observed. Responsibility for industrial and apprenticeship training was transferred to the Ministry of Employment and Training (VA 704) in December 1980.
The Industrial Relations Act 1979 which come into operation in 1981 amended the Industrial Training Act 1975 by removing the Industrial Training Commission's powers to prepare draft regulations with respect to apprentices' rates of pay, overtime, increments and allowances for tools.
The Industrial Training (Further Amendment) Act 1981 (No.9677) provided for pre-vocational trainees, trainee technicians and tradesmen accreditation. The legislation was designed to utilise the knowledge, ability and experience of representatives of employees, employers and the State government in supervising the training of persons undertaking pre-apprenticeship courses, adult training courses and in co-ordinating training in skilled trades both in technical schools and industry. The Commission was empowered to issue Trade Certificates to persons who had not completed an apprenticeship or period of adult training but who possessed the necessary skills, subject to a trade test, for all trades except those covered by licensing and registration boards or by Commonwealth legislation.
The role of the Industrial Training Commission included:
- reviewing the requirements of the State for skilled tradespeople and technicians
- assessing the availability of skilled persons to meet those requirements
- ensuring the availability of young persons for training in skilled trades and of vacancies for apprentices, pre-apprenticeship trainees, and adult trainees
- recommending measures to increase participation by employers in the training of apprentices
- reporting on the adequacy of training of apprentices in employers' workshops and in technical schools and
- suggesting ways of promoting the apprenticeship system as a means of training skilled tradespeople.
In 1987 the Ministry of Education and Training (VA 1112) assumed responsibility for industrial and apprenticeship training from the Department of Labour II.
The State Training Board (VA 3002) was first established in November 1987 by an Order in Council under the provisions of the Post Secondary Education Act 1978. The purpose was to establish an authority to co-ordinate and administer the Government's training policies and the technical and vocational training services provided by the State. The Order in Council empowered the Board to assume the functions of the Industrial Training Commission and to assist the Technical and Further Education Board (VA 1176). From 1 April 1988 the State Training Board also became responsible for the functions of the Division of Training of the Department of Labour II (VA 2777).
The State Training Board was reconstituted under the Vocational Education and Training Act 1990. Although the Industrial Training Commission's functions had been assumed by the former State Training Board the Commission was not formally abolished until 1 July 1991 when the provision of the Vocational Education and Training Act 1990 abolishing the Commission (section 95(2)) came into operation.
The State Training Board operates under the following legislation which regulates the State Training System:
- Industrial Training Act, 1975
- Employment and Training Act, 1981
- Post Secondary Education Act, Part III, 1983, as well as the original 1978 provisions of the Post Secondary Education Act.
The State Training System includes:
- Thirty-three TAFE Colleges
- Apprenticeship and traineeship systems
- Industry training network and skills centres located either in TAFE colleges or in industries and the
- five hairdressing colleges.
The role of the State Training Board, which is a statutory authority involves:
- planning, development, and administration of vocational training programmes
- the administration of apprenticeships and traineeships
- adult training programmes
- establishment of skill centres and Industry Training Boards.
The State Training Board also exercises powers under delegation from the Victorian Post Secondary Education Commission. These are:
- endorsing funding submissions from colleges
- approving establishment or amalgamation of College Councils
- approving the expenditure of government funds on courses
- referring courses for investigation to the Accreditation Board and
- recommending regulations.
The function of the office of the State Training Board is to:
- administer the State's technical and vocational training system
- to support the work of the State Training Board
- to advise the Minister on vocational education and training and skills formation policy.
In 2001, the State Training Board was abolished via the Victorian Qualifications Authority Act 2000, which amended the Vocational Education and Training Act 1990. It was replaced with the Victorian Learning and Employment Skills Commission (VLSEC) and the Victorian Qualifications Authority (VQA). VLSEC took over the State Training Board's functions regarding monitoring outcomes and advising the Minister about post-compulsory education, training and employment. VQA was given the accreditation and certification functions of the State Training Board.
As at 2007, further research is required to fully document this function.