Group training organisation policy

The Northern Territory Government recognises the key role that group training organisations (GTOs) play in creating and maintaining training and employment opportunities for Territorians. GTOs collectively are the largest employer of apprentices and trainees in the Northern Territory (NT) and are vital to the further growth of the apprenticeship and traineeship system.

The NT Government through the Department of Trade, Business and Innovation through Training NT (the department) is committed to supporting a high quality group training network underpinned by the National Standards for group training organisations and a policy framework that encourages GTOs to provide appropriate training and support to apprentices and trainees, meet the need of industry and grow apprenticeships and traineeships in the Territory.

The department recognises that there are a range of contributing factors that affect the ongoing viability of GTOs in the Northern Territory. The department will work in partnership with GTOs to increase apprenticeship and traineeship opportunities, in particular for Indigenous and disadvantaged Territorians, and to assist GTOs to identify strategies that maximise structured employment and training opportunities in the industry growth areas.

Business need

The Group Training Policy has been developed to ensure a viable group training network into the future by providing a framework for:

  • recognition of organisations as GTOs
  • assessment of recognised GTO’s eligibility for funding under the Joint Group Training Program (JGTP)
  • ongoing assessment of all registered GTOs against the National Standards for group training organisations and relevant legislative and policy requirements
  • ongoing monitoring and evaluation of outcomes achieved by GTOs against established and agreed local and national benchmarks and continuing compliance with the requirements for recognition in the Northern Territory.

Responsibilities

The responsibility for developing and maintaining this policy rests with the director of Training Services.

The executive director of Training NT  is responsible for approving this policy.

Definitions

Group training organisation

A profit, or not-for-profit, entity (usually a company) established to provide a group training service to employers, apprentices and trainees.

Group training services

Group training organisations (GTOs) employ apprentices and trainees and are responsible for ensuring those employees receive suitable training, on-the-job experience and appropriate support. To achieve this aim, GTOs will find a suitable ‘host’ employer for the apprentice or trainee to work with on a day-to-day basis. Apprentices and trainees employed by GTOs may spend their entire apprenticeship or traineeship with one host employer who can offer a well-rounded training and employment experience. Alternatively, they may be rotated around a number of host employers who can each offer a specialised area of training.

Entities that are recognised as GTOs in the Territory will have met the requirements of this policy and the National Standards for group training organisations. Once recognised, GTOs are entitled to use the National Group Training logo within the Northern Territory, in accordance with the logo specifications.

Recognition of GTOs and the employment of apprentices and trainees in the Territory are governed by this policy and the Northern Territory Employment and Training Act 2004 respectively.

Organisations that satisfy the requirements set out within this policy will be placed on the Group Training National Register.

Review

This policy will be reviewed annually.

Procedures

Recognition of group training organisations

Application for recognition as a group training organisation

To ensure the GTOs in the Territory provide and maintain a high quality service, the department, will recognise an organisation as a group training organisation according to the process outlined below.

Organisations seeking to be recognised as GTOs are required to comply with the two-part application process:

  • Meet the Northern Territory requirements outlined in this policy and the Application for Registration as a GTO in the Northern Territory
  • Demonstration of compliance with the National Standards for group training organisations.

An application will not be evaluated until both the application form and the evidence of compliance with National Standards for Group Training Organisations have been submitted. Formal recognition of an organisation as a GTO will only occur once compliance with the National Standards for group training organisations has been confirmed.

Evaluation of applications

Applications for organisations seeking to be recognised as a GTO will be evaluated against the criteria below. The department specifies that the organisation seeking to operate must have a physical location in the Northern Territory.  The department will take approximately (4) weeks to evaluate an application depending on the nature of the application and the amount of evidence and research provided by the applicant. As part of its evaluation the department may:

  • conduct its own research into demand for the proposed services
  • contact organisations that have supplied letters of support to verify their position or to obtain further information
  • contact other State Training Authorities
  • request company searches
  • request further information from the applicant.

Where it is deemed that an organisation is required to undergo a full or partial compliance audit against the National Standards for group training organisations, the organisation will be advised in writing and a date for conducting the audit will be negotiated. This may extend the evaluation period.

Organisations are responsible for meeting all audit costs and any costs associated with rectifying any outstanding non-compliances identified through audit.

Once the departments’ officers have evaluated the application, a recommendation will be prepared for the director of Training Services, with final approval by the executive director of Training NT.

Registration period

For organisations whose primary registration is in another jurisdiction the registration approved by the department will be for a period of up to three years but will not extend the period of primary the registration. Organisations that have their primary registration in the Territory may be approved for a period up to three years. Prior to the expiration of the registration period GTOs will be required to undergo a full compliance audit against the National Standards for group training organisations.

Existing recognition status

GTOs with existing recognition status are required to provide the department with evidence that the requirement of the National Standards for group training organisations have been met and complete the application form. Applications will be subject to an evaluation based on criteria in Scope of Registration below.

Interstate group training organisations

Interstate GTOs may apply for recognition as a GTO in the Northern Territory.

Interstate applicants are required to demonstrate that:

  • the National Standards for group training organisations have been fully implemented within NT
  • local resources are in place to function effectively as a GTO within the Northern Territory.

Interstate GTOs applying for recognition in NT are also required to submit an application form, which will be evaluated according to the criteria in Scope of Registration. In evaluating an application the department may:

  • request a copy, if not already supplied, of an audit report for any compliance audit conducted against the national standards in the organisation’s head office state
  • consult with the State Training Authority in the state in which the head office or sponsoring body is situated and request the results of any compliance audit conducted
  • advise the applicant of the need for a partial of full compliance audit of the NT operations by a the department approved auditor.

Scope of registration

Organisations seeking recognition as a GTO in the Northern Territory are required to submit a business case which addresses the criteria below. An organisation’s response to the criteria will be evaluated by the department and will form the basis of the GTO’s approved scope of registration. The organisation will provide evidence of its ability to:

  • appropriately service the industry, industry sector(s) and geographical areas and meet the specified targets identified in the application
  • provide for appropriate training and support to apprentices and trainees
  • assist the NT Government in growing the apprenticeship and traineeship market
  • comply with the requirements of the Northern Territory Employment and Training Act 2004
  • remain financially viable.

Extending the scope of registration

GTOs are required to apply to the department to extend services to industries, industry sectors and / or geographical regions not included in their approved scope.

The department may require the GTO to provide further information including but not limited to:

  • market size and trends
  • clients
  • marketing plan
  • financial management
  • employment projection mix.

Withdrawal of recognition as a GTO

Under this policy, the department may withdraw recognition of an organisation as a GTO where the organisation fails to:

  • comply with the National Standards for group training organisations
  • comply with all relevant Australian and Northern Territory government legislation
  • comply with all relevant department policies and guidelines
  • adhere to its obligations as a legal employer of apprentices and trainees
  • comply with any obligations under the Joint Group Training Program performance and funding contract.

Closure of a group training organisation

A GTO must inform the department immediately of any matters that may materially affect its on-going operations or financial viability. The department will liaise with the chair of the GTO’s Board of Directors on any matter that may have the potential to impact on the financial viability and / or capability of the organisation.

In the event of a closure, or pending closure of a GTO, the department’s primary concerns will be to ensure:

  • the continuity of employment and training of apprentices and trainees
  • all employee-related entitlements can be met.

In the event of the closure of a GTO, all efforts will be made to negotiate and facilitate the transfer of the employment of apprentices and trainees to other GTOs, existing host employers or new employers.

When a GTO ceases to trade, an application must be made to the department to seek the withdrawal of the organisation’s recognition as a GTO in the Northern Territory. Alternatively, the department may declare that an organisation’s recognition has been withdrawn where it becomes evident that a GTO can no longer operate and the organisation will be advised of such a decision in writing.

Joint group training program funding

Organisations that meet the Northern Territory and national recognition requirements are eligible to apply for funding through the Commonwealth and Northern Territory Joint Group Training Program (JGTP). Access to JGTP funding does not automatically flow from successfully meeting the recognition requirements and is subject to Australian and Northern Territory government budgetary constraints.

Organisations must specify their intent to apply for JGTP funding on the application form and once a GTO is approved for access to the JGTP, a funding contract will be negotiated based on their scope, stated employment projection and mix.

Existing GTOs not currently in receipt of JGTP funding may apply to the department to access this program using the application form. In considering such applications the department will take into account the GTO’s:

  • prior achievements against employment projections
  • financial viability
  • any other reasonable evaluation, audit or inspection of the GTO.

Once an existing GTO is approved for access to the JGTP, a funding contract will be negotiated with the GTO.

The JGTP funding contract will set out the obligations of the GTO and the department and the reporting and monitoring requirements in respect to of JGTP funds.

Monitoring and evaluation

A key aspect of managing the on-going quality and integrity of the group training network in the Northern Territory is the process for monitoring and evaluating continued compliance for recognition. As a minimum, all recognised GTOs in the Northern Territory are required to:

  • submit their annual audited financial statements within thirty (30) days of the statements being tabled at the organisation’s Annual General Meeting, or by 31 December, whichever comes first
  • conduct a self-assessment of the organisation’s compliance with the National Standards for group training organisations and provide the department with a self-assessment report, signed by the Chair of the Board of Directors, by 31 December each year
  • undergo a quality compliance audit against the National Standards for group training organisations at least once every three (3) years or as determined by the department.

Failure to maintain compliance may result in the withdrawal of recognition to operate as a GTO in the NT.

In addition to the above, GTOs in receipt of JGTP funding are required to comply with the reporting and monitoring arrangements specified in the JGTP funding contract.

Recognised GTOs not in receipt of JGTP funding, in addition to the above, are required to comply with the following reporting and monitoring arrangements. Submission of a bi-annual report detailing:

  • corporate governance and financial management arrangements
  • achievements against the employment projection and mix as specified in their applications
  • compliance with relevant department policies and guidelines and Australian and Northern Territory Government legislation.

Non compliance

Where non-compliance is identified through audit, a strategy to address such non-compliance will be developed and agreed between the GTO and the department. The strategy and strategy timeframe will be dependent on the extent of the non-compliance.

All non-compliance must be rectified in accordance with the agreed strategy and timeframe and signed off by the auditor prior to the GTO being found compliant, placed on the National register and receiving funding under a JGTP contract.

Any GTO unable to comply with the National Standards for group training organisations may lose its recognition status, be removed from the National Register and, where relevant have the JGTP contract cancelled.

Contract of training

Under the department’s Australian Apprenticeships Support Services (AASS) arrangements, the Australian Apprenticeships Centre (AAC) is responsible for assisting all Northern Territory employers, apprentices and trainees complete and lodge the Contract of Training.

Signed on 19 September 2012 by:

Kim Jenkinson
Executive Director
Training NT

Last updated: 03 October 2016