Support for Norfolk Island apprentices, trainees and employers

Norfolk Islanders now have greater opportunities to access vocational education and training, with the Australian and Queensland Governments expanding state service delivery to support new apprenticeship and traineeship contracts on the island.

The new arrangements now in effect support Norfolk Island residents to train or retrain in a vocation, as well as businesses who need more skilled workers.

This is the first expansion of services following the commencement of the agreement with the Queensland Government to deliver state-type services to Norfolk Island on 1 January 2022. Since this time, Queensland has been operating the Norfolk Island Central School and providing support and oversight to the Norfolk Island Health and Residential Aged Care Service.

The legal framework to allow the Queensland Department of Employment, Small Business and Training (DESBT) to register and monitor apprenticeship and traineeship training contracts on Norfolk Island has been enacted in the Norfolk Island Applied Laws Amendment (Applied Laws and Service Delivery (Queensland) (Further Education and Training)) Ordinance 2022.

The new arrangements also enable establishment of school-based apprenticeships and traineeships on the  island and support review processes.

Minister for Regional Development, Local Government and Territories the Hon Kristy McBain MP said it was a win for members of the Norfolk Island community looking to gain skills and qualifications while remaining on the island and it responds to representations from local businesses.

“We have worked with Queensland to make sure Norfolk Islanders are not disadvantaged by the lack of access or remote location, supporting them to receive the same qualifications as apprentices and trainees in other Australian states and territories,” Minister McBain said.

“With these new laws, Norfolk Islanders will continue to have the choice of staying on the island to pursue an apprenticeship or traineeship, supporting more secure employment options and addressing the needs of the business community.

“I thank the Queensland Government for their support for this expansion of service delivery.”

Queensland Minister for Employment and Small Business and Minister for Training and Skills Development, the Hon Di Farmer MP, said the state government is committed to providing vocational education and training opportunities which are tailored to the needs of the Norfolk Island community.

“The Queensland Government has significant experience supporting trainees and apprentices through world-class programs, including managing out-of-state traineeships, and we will bring that knowledge and expertise to Norfolk Island,” Minister Farmer said.

The New South Wales Department of Education will continue to manage the training contracts for apprenticeships and traineeships on Norfolk Island that started before 31 December 2021.

The Norfolk Island Vocational Education and Training Financial Assistance Initiative, funded by the Commonwealth, also remains available to support vocational education and training students on the island. The scheme, administered by Asuria, supports students to manage the costs of studying at TAFE or at a vocational education and training institution while living on Norfolk Island.

The Australian and Queensland governments are continuing to identify and negotiate additional services that Queensland may deliver to Norfolk Island in the future.

“We will keep Norfolk Islanders informed as this important work under our enduring partnership progresses,” Minister McBain and Minister Farmer said.