Over the years FCTA has helped hundreds of employers sign up new apprentices. One of the ways we have recommended signing up an apprentice has been via an apprenticeship transfer. The idea behind this seems like a low-risk recommendation, but this year we have seen an employer caught out by taking on another tradies apprentice.

Apprenticeship transfers can happen for a variety of reasons:

  • the collapse of a builder leaves some apprentices out of work and another builder takes over the apprentices
  • two builders decide to enter into a partnership
  • a builder urgently needs an experienced apprentice

Transfers have been seen as a faster way to sign up an existing apprentice. The only problem – the transfer does not reset the probationary period. A new apprentice signing up to a new training contract has a 90-day probationary period. If you take on an existing apprentice via a transfer you no longer have a 90-day probationary period. The period starts at the date the original training contract was signed. We only became aware of this issue when one of our employers attempted to dismiss an apprentice they had hired via an apprenticeship transfer.

This is the first time we are aware of this happening in 18 years. As a result, we will no longer recommend apprentice transfers, but instead, recommend signing up all apprentices under a new training contract. Shorter contracts of training are available for employers who want to recognise experienced apprentices, but beware that for apprentices signed up to (and including) 24 months, the probationary period drops to 60 days.