An apprenticeship is a structured employment and training program,
usually of three to four years duration, that leads to becoming a
qualified tradesperson. The training combines practical experience at
work with off the job training with a Registered Training Organisation
(RTO). An RTO can be either a private provider or a TAFEWA college.
Financial incentives are available to eligible employers to encourage
them to take on an apprentice. An apprentice earns an income, gains work
experience and has the opportunity to learn new skills in a hands-on
On successful completion of the apprenticeship the apprentice gains a
nationally recognised qualification and a trade certificate.
Employers who take on apprentices (including many who currently
employ workers with disability through EDGE) are expected to have a
strong commitment to training and to provide the necessary support and
encouragement throughout the traineeship. Naturally, the employer and
the apprentice will be assisted in this regard by EDGE staff.
EDGE established the first apprenticeship program for people with
disability in Western Australia in October 1999. It has since assisted
more than 250 people with all types of disability undertake
EDGE has established partnerships with three of Perth's biggest
apprenticeship providers (Hospitality Group Training, Apprenticeships
Australia and WA Group Training Scheme) which employ many hundreds of
apprentices and then place them with employers in a wide range of
industries. The partnerships are mutually beneficial because Group
Training Organisations can open doors to prospective employers and EDGE
can provide on-the-job and off-the-job support to apprentices with
disability employed by Group Training Organisations.
EDGE is also able to secure funding through disability apprenticeship
subsidy programs that offer generous wage subsidies for employers and
funding for workplace modifications, aids and equipment, extra tutoring,
interpreter or note-taker support, and mentor support.