For a salon to successfully train an apprentice, a strong working relationship with your Registered Training Organisation (RTO) is critical. Invariably, like all partnerships, there will be times when you need to work with your RTO to resolve issues that arise and without a strong understanding of exactly what the RTO’s responsibilities are this can be difficult.

Particularly, because apprenticeships can be complicated for all the parties involved and at times the priorities of each of the parties may appear to compete. Juggling the priorities of the apprentice, the needs of the salon combined with the requirements of the formal training package requires a clear understanding of the roles and responsibilities of all involved. So again, the best advice would be to get to know exactly what your RTO’s role is, so that you can work with them to achieve the best outcomes.

The first responsibility for an RTO on the apprenticeship journey is to work with the employer to ensure that all the right conditions and support are in place for each and every apprentice. This will include ensuring there are qualified hairdressers in place to supervise and mentor the apprentice. That the salon has the range of work the apprentice needs to undertake to cover all aspects of the Certificate III qualification and that any learning, literacy and numeracy needs of the apprentice are identified in order to put in place support where required.

Secondly, the RTO is responsible for the delivery of the formal training and assessment. The first step of this process is to negotiate and develop a training plan with the salon and your apprentice. As part of that training plan there will be so timeframes that you will need to work towards. Depending on which state you are based in this could three or four years for a fulltime apprentice. The training plan is the centre piece of the induction process which will also cover your options for delivery and assessment. Will your apprentice attend college? If so, how often? Will you opt for workplace delivery and what might that look like? This plan will be put in place along with a time-line for review. This initial planning phase will also cover things such as any training costs or obligations.

Thirdly, the RTO will manage progress. Most colleges will do this by providing your apprentice and yourself with a training record that records each unit of competency as it is completed as you work through the qualification. Along with the training plan the training plan the training record book will sits within the salon and shows that you’re regularly moving and completing your work in line with your timeline. It also provides evidence that can be provided to state training authorities to demonstrate apprenticeship progression. The RTO will regularly check that with you and then manage your apprentices training plan in unison with the training record to make sure that the progression is happening. An important responsibility of and RTO is to notify and work with you if the apprentice is not progressing to plan. in the areas of numeracy and literacy the RTO is the first port of call. Having conducted literacy and numeracy assessment sat the outset the RTO can identify any issues that require support and either provide additional learning support themselves or work with external specialist agencies to support every apprentice through their journey.

Finally, there is completion. When it comes time to complete your apprentice a completion agreement is signed by all parties. Only once the salon, the apprentice and RTO are in agreement on completion is a qualification issued. Once a qualification has been issued your apprentice can move on in their career as a fully qualified Hairdresser or Barber in industry. For many this a life changing outcome and the result of more than 3 years of blood, sweat and tears. An amazing outcome built on the critical partnership between the salon and the RTO. Knowing the role that your RTO plays in developing your emerging stylists provides the salon and the apprentice the very best chance to not only last the journey but to be part of an incredible training experience.