Resolving Issues for employers of apprentices and trainees​

From time to time there may be issues, disagreements or disputes between you and your apprentice or trainee. The good news is Regulation and Contract Management can help.

How it works

If there is a problem, disagreement or dispute between you and your apprentice or trainee, Regulation and Contract Management consultants are available to provide impartial advice.

Call 1800 673 097 and speak to an area consultant, or arrange a time for someone to meet with you and your apprentice or trainee.

Next steps

  1. Try to resolve it in the workplace. Speak with your apprentice or trainee and outline the issue and how it might jeopardise the training contract.
  2. If talking hasn’t helped, contact Regulation and Contract Management on 1800 673 097 to speak to an area consultant. The consultant will offer impartial advice and let all parties know of their obligations to each other under the law and options for resolving the matter.
  3. In cases where you have not been able to resolve the matter to your satisfaction, either party can lodge an application with the South Australian Industrial Relations Commission (SAIRC) Registry.
  4. SAIRC Registry

    Street address: Level 6, Riverside Centre, North Terrace, Adelaide
    Postal address: PO Box 8046, Station Arcade SA, 5000
    Telephone: 8207 0999
    Fax: 8207 0995
    Email Address:

    Office hours: 8.30 am to 5.00 pm

    You and your apprentice or trainee will be required to attend a conciliation conference where you both can discuss the issues with the assistance of a Commissioner.

    In most cases this will resolve the matter.

  5. If there’s no outcome from the conciliation conference, your matter can be referred to arbitration. This means the decision on what will happen is made for you and your apprentice or trainee and it is final.

Office of the Training Advocate

The Office of the Training Advocate (OTA) provides confidential support and advice to all  apprentices and trainees. It is a support service which can refer you to specialised help about your training both on and off-job.

You can remain anonymous when contacting the OTA.

Call the OTA on 1800 006 488 or visit them at 55 Currie St, Adelaide. Office hours are Monday to Friday, 8.30 am to 5.30 pm. 

Some important facts to remember when you have a dispute with your apprentice or trainee

  1. For changes to occur to your training contract, there must be agreement between you and the apprentice or trainee and parent or guardian (if apprentice or trainee is under 18 years). It is unlawful for any person to pressure or use unfair tactics to gain someone else’s agreement to a change.
  2. You must continue to provide your apprentice or trainee with work and training and their wages while there is a dispute; and they must continue attending training and work. These are the obligations under the training contract.
  3. The only time these obligations may change is where you have reasonable grounds to believe your apprentice or trainee has displayed wilful and serious misconduct.

Wilful and serious misconduct

If your apprentice or trainee does something that you consider as wilful and serious misconduct, you can suspend your apprentice or trainee for no more than seven working days.

If this happens, you must notify the SAIRC Registry (contact details above) of the suspension immediately.

The matter will be looked at by the SAIRC, usually within the suspension period, to resolve the matter quickly.

Your apprentice or trainee may not be paid during this period and you may also ask for the suspension period to be added to the term of the training contract.

The SAIRC may confirm, cancel or increase the suspension period.

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