NECA Education and Careers

Training packages...what are they?

You employ one or more apprentices and you keep hearing about training packages. Trouble is, no-one ever attempts to explain what they are in plain English.

Understanding training packages can be difficult, as training packages are complex and there are many rules and regulations that needs to be followed. Below we try to demystify them.

But first, let’s set the record straight on one of the biggest misconceptions about training packages…TAFE’s and RTO’s don’t create them! We are obliged to follow the nationally accredited training package for the Electrotechnology industry, which defines the competencies and framework for nationally recognised qualifications. The TAFE/RTO can only tailor the training and assessments to the industry, employer and apprentice needs.

+ What is a training package?

Training packages are nationally endorsed standards and qualifications for recognising and assessing people’s skills in a specific industry. National endorsement ensures that the level attained for each qualification will be the same regardless of where in Australia that qualification was obtained. This makes it easier to move between states and territories and for employers to hire people who have worked for other companies or moved from interstate.

+ How are training packages created and updated?

Training packages are living documents and change in response to industry feedback on the skills and competencies required to perform effectively on the job.

There are many stakeholders involved in creating the training packages. The federal government has established processes and organisations to develop and review training packages and this includes ensuring industry input. NECA and EnergySafe Victoria for instance, are involved in the development of the Electrotechnology training package.

+ What training package does the Electrical industry have?

The current Electrotechnology training package is UEE11, which was released in 2013, with a new package expected to be released and implemented in the next couple of years.

Each training package is made up of 3 components:

  • Units of competency: define the skills and knowledge to operate effectively and how they need to be applied to perform effectively in a workplace context.
  • Qualifications Framework: units of competency are grouped to form qualifications ranging from Certificate 1 to Graduate Diploma level. The Electrotechnology package contains many qualifications although the Certificate III electrical apprentice qualification is the most popular.
  • Assessment guidelines: the industry’s preferred approach to assessments, including the qualifications required by assessors, the design of assessment processes and how assessments should be conducted

Electrical apprentices across Australia undertake the Certificate III in Electrotechnology which is made up of 22 units of competency - 20 core and 2 electives. (Some of these units also make up the Pre-Apprenticeship, which allows apprentices to receive credit transfers and reduce the length of time at school). Once they have successfully completed all of their units of competency and had their on-the-job competency verified, apprentices are awarded their qualification.

The State Government dictates the number of hours we need to teach a unit if we are to receive funding to deliver the training (this funding makes the training more accessible to apprentices)  and the Victorian Registration and Qualifications Authority (VRQA) ensures we are delivering the training correctly.

+ What is taught?

1st Year

During an apprentices first year, it’s all about learning the concepts behind the application, such as:

  • Safety
  • Electrical concepts
  • Magnetism
  • DC circuits
  • How to use the tools of trade. They will learn how to strip and fix and secure cable and associated accessories.
  • Plus they start to get introduced to the wiring rules and other standards.

2nd and 3rd Year

Second and third year is all about building on the concepts, getting into much greater depth and how to apply these concepts in a safe environment. These include:

  • Sustainability
  • General wiring principles
  • AC circuits
  • Transformers/ Motors
  • Maximum demand
  • Cable selection
  • Designing an installation
  • Testing an installation
  • Telecommunications (Open Registration)
  • Wiring Rules and Standards

All which leads the apprentice to be prepared for their licencing exams, facilitated by EPIC.

Over the next few months we will go into greater depth about the training package. If you have any questions you would like answered around the training package, drop us a line at