What is a complaint?

Skills Canberra defines a complaint as a dispute, a grievance or an expression of dissatisfaction about the administration, management or operation of training under ACT funded training initiatives such as Australian Apprenticeships or Skilled Capital. The complaint could be about an employer, an Australian Apprentice, a student, a registered training organisation (RTO) or an Apprentice Network provider (ANP).

What can Skills Canberra do?

Skills Canberra can:

  • Attempt to resolve disputes about training provided under an ACT Government funded training initiative or an approved training contract between an employer and an Australian Apprentice.
  • Refer the complaint directly to an external organisation for investigation. This may be done in circumstances when a person appears to be at risk. For example if serious safety or bullying issues arise the issue will be referred immediately to WorkSafe ACT by Skills Canberra.
  • Refer you to an external organisation for resolution of a complaint where Skills Canberra is not authorised to resolve, for example:
    • for a complaint about pay or working conditions, Skills Canberra will refer you to the Fair Work Ombudsman for investigation and resolution.
    • a dispute between a student and an RTO must be initiated through the RTOs formal complaint policy and process in the first instance.
  • Provide information and advice to students and employers.

Skills Canberra cannot

  • Resolve a complaint about training where there is no approved training contract or if the training is not funded under an ACT Government funded training initiative such as an Australian Apprenticeship or Skilled Capital.
  • Resolve a complaint about safety, bullying and harassment (you will be referred to WorkSafe ACT).
  • Resolve a complaint about pay or working conditions (you will be referred to Fair Work Ombudsman).
  • Resolve or action a complaint made anonymously without your consent.

Where Skills Canberra is unable to resolve your issue, you will be provided with information about the correct external agency to help you.

Making a complaint

Skills Canberra will attempt to resolve complaints made by:

  • an Australian Apprentice
  • a parent or guardian of an Australian Apprentice who is under 18 years of age
  • a Skilled Capital student
  • an employer of an Australian Apprentice.
  • a RTO
  • an ANP

Lodging a complaint you can expect to:

  • be treated respectfully and fairly
  • receive an acknowledgement of your complaint within 5 working days
  • have your complaint managed within a defined timeframe as outlined in the complaint process
  • be informed of the outcome
  • have your matter treated confidentially.

Raising an issue

Any member of the community may raise an issue with Skills Canberra. How issues will be investigated and actioned by Skills Canberra will be decided on a case-by-case basis depending on the nature of the issues. Members of the community who raise issues will be advised how their issue is being addressed.

Complaint process

In the first instance both parties should attempt to resolve any dispute between one another. All RTOs are required to have procedures in place for handling of complaints. You are also encouraged to approach your employer/Australian Apprentice in the first instance, as issues can usually be most effectively resolved without the involvement of a third party.

You can lodge a complaint with Skills Canberra by completing a Skills Canberra Vocational Education and Training Complaint Form (Online).

All complaints will be recorded on a register. To ensure the best outcome, Skills Canberra will require details such as names, contact numbers and details of the other party and the issue. Complaints made anonymously without consent will be recorded for trend analysis, but in most circumstances cannot be investigated due to privacy implications.

Please be aware that any complaint received by Skills Canberra, where a person’s health or safety is believed to be at risk, will immediately be referred by Skills Canberra to the relevant external agency such as WorkSafe ACT in accordance with the Information Privacy Act 2014.

Skills Canberra will work with you to clarify the nature of your complaint, the main issues or concerns you would like investigated and the outcome you are seeking. Where it is determined that Skills Canberra can help you with your issue, Skills Canberra will attempt to resolve your issue at the ‘local level’. This means it may provide you with advice to help you resolve your issue directly with the relevant person or organisation.

If your issue cannot be resolved at the ‘local level’ an officer from Skills Canberra, with your consent, will be required to contact the person or organisation you are making the complaint about to inform them of the issue. Other relevant parties may also be contacted for information. Without your consent Skills Canberra cannot progress the matter.

When a complaint is investigated, you must be willing to talk to a Skills Canberra Officer about your complaint, provide Skills Canberra with documents to support your claim (if applicable) and participate in efforts to resolve the complaint such as meetings or mediation with the person or organisation you lodge the complaint about. You are entitled to have a support person attend any discussions related to your complaint.

Skills Canberra must uphold the principles of natural justice. This means that if you make a complaint against a person or organisation Skills Canberra will inform that person or organisation a complaint has been raised. Skills Canberra will provide a summary of the issues to the other party and request a response to the matters raised within 10 business days of receiving your complaint.

Skills Canberra will endeavour to resolve formal complaints within 28 days of the complaint being submitted. However, timeframes may need to be extended where there is good reason. In this case, the parties involved will be advised.

Review of decision

If you believe that the procedures have not been followed correctly, or the outcome is unreasonable, you can request an internal review of the decision within 10 business days of notification of the outcome. This request for a review must be submitted in writing to the Director, Skills Canberra by email to Skills Canberra or by post to Skills Canberra, GPO Box 158, Canberra ACT 2601.

If you are not satisfied with the outcome of the internal review, you may apply for an external review of the complaint by contacting: