Support and Referral Services for Apprentices and Trainees

Version Number


Implementation Date



All Training


To provide support and referral services to an apprentice or trainee who is experiencing difficulties.


​This procedure provides referral services to apprentices and trainees who may be experiencing stress during their training contract term by providing limited counselling services and/or referral options to community/government based agencies. 

This procedure includes referrals to:

  • the contracted fee for service provider 
  • Government or community agencies 
  • Workplace Health & Safety Qld (WHSQ), and
  • Fair Work Commission (FWC).


​Queensland Department of Education and Training (DET, Qld) Regional Office:

  • Make an assessment of the particular issue/situation
  • Determine the degree of risk to the apprentice or trainee
  • Take the necessary actions based on the risk assessment (with assistance from the regional management team if required)
  • Maintain a list of government/community agencies available for referrals.

DET, Qld Head Office - Queensland Apprenticeship and Traineeship Office (QATO)
Responsibilities relate to referrals for urgent professional assistance.

  • Reconcile the account and ensure sufficient funds are available
  • Ensure that the number of sessions provided has not exceeded the approved number of sessions
  • Forward the invoice to finance for payment
  • Maintain a copy of the invoice on the reconciliation file
  • Forward a FYI to the region stating that the apprentice or trainee has attended the approved number of nominated session/s.

Optum Health & Technology (Australia) Pty Ltd

  • Forward an invoice directly to QATO for reconciliation and payment
  • Advise the relevant regional office of the apprentice's or trainee's attendance at appointments after the last counselling session service
  • Provide permissible advice on any outcomes.


​A regional officer must make contact with the apprentice or trainee, and employer (if applicable), when they become aware of a situation involving a critical incident, non-critical incident, or allegations regarding bullying.

Where an apprentice or trainee is 18 years or older, the decision to report allegations of sexual abuse remains with the apprentice or trainee. If the apprentice or trainee is under 18, mandatory reporting exists (Refer to Mandatory notifiers and reporting for direction).

Critical incidents

For situations that are assessed as critical, the regional officer must make a decision on whether the situation:
  • warrants urgent professional assistance, or
  • can follow the process as described for situations assessed as non-critical incidents.

Urgent professional assistance
Referrals to Optum Health & Technology (Australia) Pty Ltd (contacted 24 hours a day, 365 days a year on telephone 1300 361 008) are initiated where:

  • immediate intervention is required and/or 
  • community based/government agencies are not available or cannot respond within a reasonable timeframe. 

The Director, Training may approve three (3) initial sessions, and an additional 3 sessions where referral to a community based/government agency is unavailable.

The regional officer:

  • completes the Support and Referral Form 
  • forwards the form to Optum Health & Technology (Australia) Pty Ltd
  • forwards a copy of the Support and Referral Form to the Queensland Apprenticeship and Traineeship Office (QATO) via email: for account reconciliation
  • where appropriate, instigates the initial contact with Optum Health & Technology (Australia) Pty Ltd on behalf of the apprentice or trainee
  • monitors the progress of the issue in relation to the training contract only.

Non-critical incidents

For situations that are assessed as non-critical, or are assessed as critical but do not require urgent professional assistance, the regional officer must:
  • include and involve other parties (including the supervising registered training organisation) where necessary to reach a resolution
  • make use of the educational material and practical resources available to assist in developing a safe, supportive and productive workplace
  • discuss the issue with the regional management team to determine the best course of action in instances where the regional officer is experiencing difficulties
  • provide the details of community/government agencies able to provide further assistance if the issue remains unresolved, and/or the apprentice or trainee has requested additional support.

Details of community based/government agencies

Allegations regarding bullying

The regional officer must take all reasonable steps to intervene at the workplace when they become aware of behaviours which may be workplace bullying.
DET, Qld cannot advise whether the behaviour is workplace bullying or whether or not it has occurred.

The regional officer:
  • schedules a visit to safeguard the well-being of all apprentices and trainees
  • asks the party making the allegation if they have raised their concerns with anyone in the workplace
  • utilises the Guide for Preventing and Responding to Workplace Bullying to assist with responding to bullying allegations.

If the workplace bullying issue is not resolved, the regional officer may provide information to the apprentice or trainee on how to lodge a complaint with WHSQ or FWC.

Referral to WHSQ
An MoU between DET, Qld and WHSQ outlines the arrangements for managing workplace incidents when an issue relates to allegations of workplace bullying.

Where the apprentice or trainee chooses to lodge a complaint with WHSQ, the regional officer must provide information to the apprentice or trainee about the previous actions DET, Qld has undertaken with the employer to identify and resolve the issue subject to Information privacy. 

Referral to Fair Work Commission
The apprentice or trainee may also choose the option to lodge an application with the FWC, refer to Fair Work Commission for more information in relation to anti-bullying.

Online Resources

Review Date

Attribution CC BY
Critical incident
May include:
  • self-harming attempts or threats of self-harm
  • threat of harm to others
  • recipient of threats or actual violence
  • involved in or witnessing a robbery or other violence
  • informed of or witnessing a sudden or unexpected death
  • present when a fatality or serious bodily injury occurs
  • seriously injured, or exposed to the risk of serious injury
  • involved in a hostage or siege situation.

Non critical incident
Situations which may impact at the workplace include:

  • apprentice or trainee has disengaged from training
  • uncharacteristic behaviour
  • learning problems
  • general behavioural problems (e.g. attendance, attitude)
  • long term emotional problems that are not affecting the day to day functioning of the apprentice or trainee
  • relationship problems
  • serious medical or mental health issues
  • substance abuse issues.

Workplace Bullying
Workplace bullying is defined as repeated and unreasonable behaviour directed towards a worker, or a group of workers, that creates a risk to health and safety.  See the Guide for Preventing and Responding to Workplace Bullying for further details.

Bullying behaviour
Behaviour that a reasonable person, having considered the circumstances, would see as unreasonable, including behaviour that is victimising, humiliating, intimidating or threatening.

Examples of bullying behaviour, whether intentional or unintentional, include but are not limited to:

  • abusive, insulting or offensive language or comments
  • unjustified criticism or complaints
  • deliberately excluding someone from workplace activities
  • withholding information that is vital for effective work performance
  • setting unreasonable timelines or constantly changing deadlines
  • setting tasks that are unreasonably below or beyond a person’s skill level
  • denying access to information, supervision, consultation or resources to the detriment of the worker
  • spreading misinformation or malicious rumours
  • changing work arrangement​s such as rosters and leave to deliberately inconvenience a particular worker or workers.