The generic term “Group Training” applies to an arrangement whereby a third party employs apprentices and trainees and places them with “host” employers under agreed conditions and for an agreed fee. Organisations that provide this service are known collectively as Group Training Companies or Group Training Organisations.
Originally known as Group Training Schemes or simply Group Schemes, Group Training Organisations were established more than 30 years ago to facilitate trade apprenticeships. Not all employers/enterprises are willing or able to guarantee a four-year term of employment, and some are not in a position to provide the full range of work experience required for an apprentice to become a qualified tradesperson. Group Training Organisations undertake the employer responsibilities for the quality and continuity of the apprentices’ employment and training by employing the apprentices themselves (ie they act as the nominal employer) and then placing them with a host employer at an agreed charge-out rate.
The benefits under such an arrangement are:
- Where a host employer cannot provide the required scope of work experience, the Group Training Organisation is able to place the apprentice with another host, either on a short-term or a long-term basis; the charge-out arrangements would be adjusted accordingly.
- Where a host employer can no longer afford to employ an apprentice, the Group Training Organisation will seek out another host as an alternative to retrenchment.
- For the host employer there is an added incentive in that the Group Training Organisation assumes responsibility for payment of wages and statutory oncosts (ie superannuation and workers compensation), group tax and the issue of group certificates, and maintains personnel records. The charge-out rate includes a fee for these services.
Group Training Organisations
Each Group Training Organisation is an independent and separately incorporated, not for profit organisation run on commercial business lines. Most Group Training Organisations receive financial support from state and federal governments to assist with administrative overheads - about 3 to 5% of turnover. However their main source of income is derived from the charge-out rate applied to host employers.
Group Training Organisations fall into one of two categories - regional or industry-specific. Industry specific GTOs focus on serving the needs of a particular industry (eg Housing Industry Association), while regional GTOs work across a range of industries in their geographic region (eg Gippsland Group Training Ltd (Vic) and Northern Group Training Ltd (SA).
In many cases the term Group Training Organisation is a misnomer, for while Group Training Organisations facilitate the process of training they do not necessarily provide the formal training themselves. Many use the services of a nearby TAFE or business college.