Key findings

Good news and bad news

The good news is that we found high levels of employer compliance.

Mostly, we found suitable training plans in place, proper supervision, women provided access to the same tools and equipment as their male colleagues, and trained and assigned work across the depth and breadth of civil construction qualifications (Certificate III or IV in Civil Construction). Many women civil construction apprentices and trainees were very positive about their experience in the workplace.

The bad news is that we found a culture of silence when women apprentices and trainees are mistreated by employers.

Every apprentice and trainee that reported negative experiences did not want the VRQA to take action, due to fear of workplace reprisal or concern of being labelled a ‘troublemaker’ in the industry.

For the same reasons, callers to the BuildUP hotline who reported serious employer non-compliance chose to remain anonymous.

Other campaign findings include:

  • 15% said they are not supervised at all and/or couldn’t name their supervisor(s)
  • some said they were supervised by other apprentices, which is not safe or compliant
  • 3 reported current bullying through homophobic comments, rumours and ridicule.

We are following up with 2 employers regarding allegations of breaches to training contracts.

Supervision guidance

You can find guidance and fact sheets on supervising apprentices and trainees at Apprenticeships Victoria.