1. Many of the relationships in a Modern Apprenticeship are governed by contracts and agreements. This code of practice provides a guide to good practice in carrying out those contractual obligations, as provided for by the Modern Apprenticeship Training Act 2000. The good practice outlined in this code is not exhaustive.
2. The code of practice provides guidance for the relationships between employers and Modern Apprentices, co-ordinators and Modern Apprentices, and co-ordinators and employers. The code of practice came into force on 20 September 2001.
3. The code of practice refers only to the parts of an employment relationship pertaining to arrangements for and practices of Modern Apprenticeships training. As such, it offers guidance about implementing the training agreement attached to a Modern Apprentice’s employment agreement. It is not intended to offer guidance regarding employment agreements between Modern Apprentices and their employers. Modern Apprentices are employees with duties and protections provided for under the relevant employment legislation.
4. Parties to a Modern Apprenticeship must comply with all relevant duties set out in the Modern Apprenticeship Training Act 2000, and with all legally binding agreements they have signed pertaining to Modern Apprenticeships. These parties should also ensure that all other relevant laws, subsequent amendments, and any relevant codes attached to these laws, are complied with. Such laws may include:
- relevant employment legislation, for example the Holidays Act 2003, the Wages Protection Act 1983, the Minimum Wage Act 1983, the Parental Leave and Employment Protection Act 1987, and the Employment Relations Act 2000;
- relevant human rights legislation, for example the Human Rights Act 1993;
- relevant health and safety legislation, for example the Health and Safety in Employment Act 1992;
- relevant privacy legislation, for example the Privacy Act 1993.
5. In particular, co-ordinators should ensure that employers are aware of their legal obligation to ensure that all workplaces in which Modern Apprentices work or train comply with workplace health and safety legislation. This includes Modern Apprenticeships training or work that takes place away from the regular workplace of the Modern Apprentice. They should also be in a position to advise Modern Apprentices, potential Modern Apprentices and employers of their rights and duties under the Human Rights Act 1993.
Principles of Modern Apprenticeships
6. The principles underlying Modern Apprenticeships relationships are those of fairness, good faith, transparency, co-operation and collaboration, in pursuit of excellence in work and training.
7. Modern Apprenticeships is based on the development and maintenance of co-operative relationships among the individuals and organisations involved.
8. Employers and co-ordinators will collaborate in support of the individual training needs of the Modern Apprentice. As a part of this, employers can expect to employ an apprentice eager to learn the skills of their industry.
Guidance for Modern Apprentices, their Employers, and Modern Apprenticeships Co-ordinators
Modern Apprentices and Employers
9. Modern Apprentices are expected to be good employees. This means they should fulfil their employment requirements according to their employment agreement and commit themselves to their individual training plan, including attending any off job training scheduled and undertaking assessments as required.
10. All employers of Modern Apprentices, including Group Training Companies, should be good employers. This means they should treat Modern Apprentices fairly and in accordance with the principles of good faith as they are laid out in the Code of Good Faith and the Employment Relations Act 2000. Group training companies should also ensure that providers of on-job training for the Modern Apprentices they employ do the same.
11. Group training companies should adhere to the good practice set out for all Modern Apprenticeships co-ordinators in this code. Group training is a unique arrangement involving the employment of Modern Apprentices by their Modern Apprenticeships co-ordinator, so special duties apply in addition.
12. Group training companies should have adequate systems in place to avoid any conflicts of interest that might arise through their role as employers and/or training providers of Modern Apprentices in addition to their role as Modern Apprenticeships co-ordinators.
The Initial Stages
13. Open communication between co-ordinators and Modern Apprentices and employers respectively will help facilitate a successful Modern Apprenticeships placement. Modern Apprenticeships co-ordinators will be working with a profile of what an employer wants in a Modern Apprentice, and will match this with the abilities and aspirations of the Modern Apprentice.
14. The co-ordinator should consider the capabilities of potential Modern Apprentices when screening them to work and train in a particular industry. Co-ordinators will be able to advise a potential Modern Apprentice what the job may be like in practice.
15. Feedback from a co-ordinator to the potential Modern Apprentice about their suitability to become a Modern Apprentice should be timely and helpful.
16. Before an employer, a Modern Apprentice and a co-ordinator sign a Modern Apprenticeship training agreement, the co-ordinator should confirm with the appropriate ITO that the ITO will register the training agreement.
During the Period of Training
17. A Modern Apprenticeship has started when the individual training plan has been signed by a Modern Apprentice and their employer (and endorsed by the co-ordinator), and when the Modern Apprentice and their employer have signed a training agreement which has been or is about to be registered by the ITO.
18. Modern Apprenticeships training will progress according to an individual training plan agreed upon by the Modern Apprentice and their employer. The individual training plan links to the training agreement that is lodged with the ITO. This training agreement forms part of the employment agreement, but the individual training plan does not.
19. The individual training plan is a statement of commitment by the Modern Apprentice, the employer and the co-ordinator, and supported by the ITO. It commits them to work together to achieve the plan’s quarterly goals. It is important that Modern Apprentices and their employers are aware of what they are supposed to achieve and work with each other with the assistance of their co-ordinator to achieve it.
20. The development of the individual training plan reflects the results of a training-needs analysis undertaken or arranged by the co-ordinator. This analysis will have been undertaken in consultation with the employer. The training plan will be designed to support the completion of the qualification the Modern Apprenticeship is to lead to.
21. Good planning by employers and co-ordinators can allow Modern Apprentices to attend off-job training with minimum disruption to the workplace. Co-ordinators will provide information (such as dates and duration of the off-job training) to aid such planning. This information should be written into the Modern Apprentice’s individual training plan as early as possible.
22. If circumstances arise that might alter a Modern Apprentice’s individual training plan, the other parties should be told as early as possible to allow for the arrangement of alternative training if necessary.
23. Modern Apprentices, their employers and their co-ordinators should be aware that identifying the Modern Apprentice’s training needs is an ongoing process. Co-ordinators will build this process into the ongoing management of the Modern Apprentice’s training.
24. “Key skills” is an integral component of Modern Apprenticeships and refers to transferable skills that enable individual apprentices to complete their training (e.g. numerical calculations, study skills, etc.). In addition, “key skills” can be transferable skills that individual industries require their employees to have to “future-proof” their industry (e.g. IT skills).
25. Ideally, “key skills” will be taught and assessed alongside other learning in the individual training plan. This provides a meaningful context for the learning of key skills and ensures that the Modern Apprentice and their employer can see their relevance to the workplace.
26. Co-ordinators who are not group training companies must not become involved in the bargaining process for an employment agreement. In the event that a request is made for them to become so involved, co-ordinators should provide employers and Modern Apprentices with timely and helpful information which will allow the employer or Modern Apprentice to obtain authoritative advice on industrial relations arrangements from an appropriate source. They should not attempt to provide this advice themselves.
27. Modern Apprenticeships co-ordinators should avoid taking the role of an advocate for either side in a situation where a Modern Apprentice is subject to their employer’s disciplinary procedures, or the Modern Apprentice and employer are engaged in an employment dispute. Co-ordinators will abide by their legal duties if asked to provide information by the Employment Relations Authority or called as a witness by the Employment Court.
28. Co-ordinators should, as early as possible, inform their contract manager at the Tertiary Education Commission Te Amorangi Mätauranga Matua (TEC) if difficulties look likely to arise in their relationship with either a Modern Apprentice or employer. The TEC will provide advice or otherwise help the parties try to pre-empt any potential difficulties.
29. If a dispute between a co-ordinator and Modern Apprentice or a co-ordinator and an employer remains unresolved, and in the absence of a prior agreement between them regarding the resolution of such disputes, the co-ordinator’s contract manager at the TEC will either, with the agreement of the parties in dispute:
- act as an independent mediator themselves; or
- appoint a mutually agreeable independent mediator to mediate the dispute.
30. Before asking the TEC to help a Modern Apprentice find employment under 12 (d) of the Modern Apprenticeship Training Act 2000, co-ordinators should exhaust every available option open to them. This might include making alternative arrangements for the Modern Apprentice themselves or arranging for another appropriate co-ordinator to find employment for the Modern Apprentice.