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Employers – about your electrical apprentices

Information for employers about electrical apprentices

Introduction

An electrician’s apprenticeship is a contract of training. It includes a national qualification (formal schooling) at a Registered Training Organisation (RTO or 'trade school') and on-the-job training. An apprenticeship can be full time, part time, or school based (also part time).

At the completion of the training, your apprentice will receive a Certificate III in Electrotechnology. This Certificate is one of the documents they will need to provide to Energy Safe Victoria to qualify for an Electrician's licence.

Note: A statement of competency, statement of results, or statement of attainment will not be accepted. The apprentice must provide a copy of the Certificate III Electrotechnology.

Electrical apprentice contract of training

To enrol in a Certificate III in Electrotechnology, an apprentice must:

  • have an employer
  • be signed under an electrician’s apprentice contract of training.

The contract period is 4 years.

The Australian Apprenticeship Support Network (AASN) can help you to complete the paperwork for an apprentice contract of training.

The contract of training is registered with the Victorian Registration & Qualifications Authority (VRQA).

New employers of apprentices must complete and sign a VRQA 'Fit and proper employer' declaration form. This form will be provided to you by your AASN contact.

To learn more about an employer's responsibility when employing an apprentice see: Employing an apprentice or trainee (VRQA)

An employer must only use licensed electrical workers to carry out electrical installation work. 'Electrical installation work' means installation, alteration, repair or maintenance of an electrical installation. This includes installing cables and fitting lights, socket outlets, and other related work.

An apprentice is a 'licensed electrical worker' while under both:

  • an apprentice training contract
  • effective supervision by a licensed electrician.

If your apprentice’s training contract has expired, they are no longer considered a licensed electrical worker.

Someone carrying out a work trial who is not under an apprentice training contract must not carry out electrical installation work.

A student on work experience must not carry out electrical installation work.

An apprentice can carry out electrical installation work for a period of up to 3 months after the completion date of their apprentice contract of training. This 3-month exemption period begins on the date shown on the letter you receive from the VRQA when your apprentice completes their apprenticeship.

Warning

If you employ an unlicensed worker to carry out electrical installation work in any of the conditions above, both you and that person may be subject to prosecution and severe penalties.

Completing an apprentice contract of training

The trade school (RTO) your apprentice attends will begin completing the contract of training when they have:

  • passed all the knowledge and skills assessments at their RTO
  • completed the on-the-job work components of the Certificate III in Electrotechnology.

As the employer, you are responsible for the on-the-job component of the Certificate III in Electrotechnology. The RTO will seek confirmation from you at the end of the apprenticeship to ensure that the apprentice is competent in the on-the-job component of the apprenticeship.

If you acknowledge the apprentice's competence, and the apprentice has successfully completed all the knowledge component of the qualification,the RTO will issue the Certificate III in Electrotechnology.

If you don't believe your apprentice is competent yet, you must notify the RTO. If the contract of training is nearing its nominal completion date, you must extend the apprentice training contract for them to continue carrying out electrical installation work.

If you are not willing to extend the contract, the apprentice will need to find another employer so they can complete their apprenticeship.

If your apprentice has completed part of their apprenticeship in another state or territory, your apprentice will need to show evidence of that training contract when applying to Energy Safe for a licence. For a list of all state and territory authorities see Australian Apprenticeships - Connect with us(opens in a new window)

Your apprentice may have completed a contract of training in the past, but didn't apply for an A Grade Electrician’s licence. If they want to apply now, they should check this guidance to determine the pathway to take: After your apprentice training contract ends

Expired apprentice contracts

Apprentice contracts of training have a nominal completion date. If your apprentice has not passed the Certificate III in Electrotechnology before this nominal completion date, you must extend the apprentice contract of training for your apprentice to legally continue to carry out electrical installation work.

To allow time for processing paperwork, we recommended you consider the apprentice's progress 3 months before the nominal completion date.

If you need help in extending your contract of training, contact the AASN

Licensed Electrical Assessments (LEAs)

In Victoria, to obtain an A Grade Electrician’s licence at the completion of an electrician's apprenticeship, someone must pass:

  • Safe Working Practice (SWP)
  • Licensed Electrician’s Theory (LET)
  • Licensed Electrician’s Practical (LEP).

Your apprentice will need a letter from their trade school (RTO) titled 'Authorisation to Undertake the Licensed Electrician’s Assessment (LEA)'. This letter says they can attempt the LEA assessment as they have finished the required units. They must have this letter before they can book an assessment.

The apprentice must get a result of 75% or greater for each assessment. To find more information about your apprentices' assessments, see Undertaking the Licensed Electrician's Assessment

Sample assessments are available to assist apprentices — see LEA sample assessments(opens in a new window)

Special consideration

Special consideration may be available to your apprentice when attempting their licensing assessments. Special consideration applies for medical and other circumstances to allow:

  • extra time
  • special conditions.

The apprentice may apply to Energy Safe — for further information, see Special consideration

Evidence of 12 months' employment

Your apprentice will need to show evidence of at least 12 months' electrical installation work to Energy Safe when applying for an electrical licence. A letter from you and any other employer while under contract is evidence they have done this work.

The dates provided on the letter you sign must be under your employment and while the apprentice:

  • was under an apprentice contract of training
  • was within the 3 months' grace period after completing their contract of training
  • held a Supervised Worker's licence.

Note: The minimum period of 12 months' electrical installation work may be demonstrated across several employer support letters.

This is a sample of an employer's support letter:

Employer support letter
PDF 57.34 KB
(opens in a new window)

Applying for an A Grade electrician’s licence

At the completion of their apprenticeship, they must apply for an A Grade electrician’s licence to continue to carry out electrical work.

Related information

Apply for Electrician's licence checklist
PDF 192.87 KB
(opens in a new window)

3-month exemption period

A person may carry out electrical installation work for a period of up to 3 months after they complete their apprenticeship. This 3-month exemption period begins on the date shown on the letter they receive from the VRQA when they complete their apprenticeship.

This exemption gives the apprentice time to:

  • receive all the documents required to apply for a licence
  • complete any licensing assessments they may not yet have passed.

This exemption time also includes Energy Safe's licence application processing time, which can be up to 10 business days from the submission of a completed application.

It is illegal for you to employ a person to carry out electrical installation work after the 3-month period if your apprentice does not hold an electrical licence.

Supervised Worker's licence

If the apprentice has finished both:

  • their apprentice contract of training
  • Safe Working Practice assessment

they may be eligible to apply for a Supervised Worker’s licence until they meet all the requirements to apply for an A Grade Electrician’s licence.

Related information

Apply for a Supervised Worker's Licence
PDF 150.05 KB
(opens in a new window)

This licence is temporary. It allows a person to do electrical installation work under the supervision of an A Grade Electrician, while they work towards passing all their licensing assessments.

A Supervised Worker's licence holder must still be effectively supervised by a licensed electrician whilst carrying out any electrical installation work. See: Requirements for the effective supervision of apprentice electricians

Electrical apprentice safety

Energy Safe Victoria regards electrical apprentice safety as a high priority.

It is vital that electrical workers follow safe work practices at all times. Electrical apprentices are particularly vulnerable and must be effectively supervised.

See: Requirements for the effective supervision of apprentice electricians

Energy Safe has developed a video to help supervises and employers understand the importance of safety in the electrical industry with the following key messages:

  • Never work live
  • Test before you touch
  • Lock out tag out (LOTO)
  • Always provide effective supervision to apprentices and electrical workers.

The video can be found below or accessed from Energy Safe’s YouTube channel.

Electrical safety for supervisors of apprentices and workers

Apprentice Support Officers

Every apprentice is assigned an Apprentice Support Officer (ASO) to assist them during their apprenticeship. ASOs offer a free and confidential support and advice service.

Find out more — see Apprentice Support Officer Program

Other helpful resources

These sites include information you might find helpful:

Date: 20/07/2024 9:58

The currency and accuracy of this information cannot be guaranteed once printed or saved to a storage device. If in doubt, please check the Energy Safe Victoria website for the current version.

Reviewed