Union supports youngest staff

Over the last few years there has been a marked increase in the number of trainees undertaking formal training while working in support roles in non government schools.

Traineeships are structured training and assessment programs to attain formal qualifications while at work.

The trainees in schools are usually recent graduates from the school where they are now undertaking the traineeship or from another school close by.

The traineeship can be in a wide range of roles including school support services, technology, entertainment, business or sports administration. The traineeships are a maximum of two years – but usually only go for one year.

The trainees will sometimes be students who have already undertaken school based traineeships and are looking to upgrade their qualification level, or they may just be looking for a gap year before undertaking more formal study

At the end of the program the trainees will have attained a formal qualification of Certificate II or III.

The employment conditions are as per the National Training Wage arrangements. In the Catholic systemic schools, trainees are covered by the Catholic Systemic Schools Enterprise Agreement with rates of pay set out in Annexure O of that agreement.

If a trainee is engaged in a school and their school’s enterprise agreement doesn't specifically include trainees, they are covered by the Educational Services (Schools) General Staff Modern Award.

The current traineeship wage rate for a Year 12 graduate who completed school last year is $409.60 per week or $13.48 an hour. This is 60% of the General Employee 1.1 cleaner rate and 50% of 3.1 unskilled clerical employees in the Catholic systemic schools.

Some of the traineeships are school specific, for example education learning support, school administration, information technology, library services – many of these trainees are likely to continue in their careers at schools.

This is a group of young, sometimes vulnerable, workers who are being employed in increasing numbers in non government schools. They are eligible to join the IEU but are on such low rates of pay they are unlikely to do so.

In response, the IEUA NSW/ACT Branch of the has established a membership category specifically for trainees, apprentices and Junior Youth Ministry positions.

This new membership classification acknowledges trainees’ lower rates of pay, while introducing them to the benefits of being in a union early in their working lives.

Membership of the IEUA also enables the trainees to be better educated and aware of their rights as workers, in terms of their contract of employment, the enterprise agreement or award, Work Health and Safety, discrimination and child protection.

It also allows them to feel part of the school community on another level.

Trainees, apprentices and Junior Youth Ministry positions staff can join as trainee members online. https://www.ieu.asn.au/join-page

They should talk to their IEU rep or organiser for more details.