The User Choice Program
(Apprenticeship and Traineeship Funding)
What is the User Choice Program?
The User Choice program provides public funding paid directly to pre-qualified suppliers (PQS) for the delivery of accredited entry-level training to apprentices and trainees.
The program works in conjunction with the Commonwealth Australian Apprenticeships System, under which apprentices and trainees (also known in some jurisdictions as ‘Australian apprentices’) enter into legally binding training contracts with their employers and receive structured training to achieve a nationally recognised qualification.
The User Choice 2010–2016 program provides a public funding contribution towards the cost of training and assessment for eligible Queensland apprentices and trainees.
The program will provide greater flexibility for apprentices, trainees and their employers to select a training supplier of their choice and to negotiate the type of training they require.
Based on the outcomes of an independent review and ongoing feedback from stakeholders, the User Choice 2010–2016 framework and model has been developed to address the most significant challenges of the government’s funding priorities, the contribution towards qualifications and the funding strategy for training and assessment services.
The Queensland User Choice 2010–2016 program will provide funding aligned to the skill needs of industry and respond to changing government priorities in a timely manner.
A number of key principles underpin the program, including the need to ensure that the program is transparent, flexible, responsive, consistently applied and easily understood.
User Choice related policies and documents are available on the Department of Education and Training’s website at www.training.qld.gov.au/userchoice.
Information and requirements for supervising registered training organisations (SRTOs) can also be found on the department’s website at www.training.qld.gov.au/apprentices/srto/index.
The intent of the User Choice program is to provide funding for the training and assessment that supports the apprenticeship and traineeship system, as defined by the Further Education and Training Act 2014. User Choice funding is only available when all arrangements, particularly employment arrangements, are consistent with the Act. The employer of an apprentice or trainee must therefore provide adequate facilities, range of work, supervision and the on-the-job training required by the Act and document this information in a training plan agreed to with the SRTO and the apprentice or trainee. The SRTO is required to assess these employment arrangements to ensure compliance with the Act.
If the employment arrangements are non-compliant with the Act, then the SRTO should not commit to the training plan and must advise the employer, the Australian Apprenticeship Support Network and the Queensland Department of Education and Training immediately.
The User Choice 2010–2016 program will be phased in as the 2006–2010 User Choice program is phased out. As a result, both programs — which have funding and policy differences — will operate in parallel for a number of years. This allows for an orderly, planned transition to the new program.
The commencement date on a student’s Training Contract constitutes the principal demarcation between the two programs.
Training delivered to students with a commencement date prior to 1 July 2010 falls under the 2006–2010 User Choice program. While the 2010–2016 User Choice program aims to provide flexibility where required, the intent of this policy is for students with a commencement date prior to 1 July 2010 to be managed under the 2006–2010 User Choice program. Any attempt to shift students to the new program simply to access the funding or policy environment of the new program is considered a breach of this policy.