Australia has two main types of employers of apprentices and trainees: ‘direct employers’, which are businesses that directly employ an apprentice or trainee; and group training organisations (GTOs), whose role is to employ apprentices and trainees and place them with host businesses.

Under the latter arrangement, GTOs are responsible for selecting and recruiting apprentices and trainees, matching them to host businesses and taking responsibility for meeting all employer obligations, including paying wages and entitlements, arranging formal training and assessment, and providing pastoral care and support throughout the contract.

Group training can be particularly helpful to small and medium-sized businesses, which often find making a commitment to an apprenticeship difficult, in that they lack the resources to manage an apprentice or trainee, or are unable to provide the comprehensive on-the-job training required for an apprenticeship or traineeship.

This study compares the contract completion rates of apprentices and trainees attached to GTOs with those attached to direct employers. Overall, completion rates with GTOs are similar to or slightly better than those of direct employers; however, further examination reveals that completion rates are dependent on a range of attributes relating to the employer and the apprentice or trainee, and these need to be considered to make meaningful comparisons. In particular, employer size and apprentice demographics are the key characteristics of the likelihood of apprentices completing.

After accounting for the different demographic profiles of GTO apprentices and trainees and employer size, the study shows that GTO completion rates for all apprentices and trainees are substantially higher than for small and medium direct employers. For trade apprentices and trainees, GTO completions are higher than for small and medium employers. For non-trade apprentices and trainees, GTO completions are higher than the rates for both small and medium, and large direct employers.

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