FAQs about the Office of the Training Advocate
What help is available? Who can access help? What does it cost? Is my enquiry or complaint confidential? Can I make an anonymous enquiry or complaint? How do I make a complaint? What should I include in my complaint? How long will it take to resolve my issue? How will my complaint be managed? What happens if there is an investigation? What can I expect from the Office of the Training Advocate? How can I withdraw my complaint? What if I am dissatisfied with the outcome and/or actions taken to address my complaint? Can apprentices and trainees access support through the SA Industrial Relations Commission (SAIRC) process? Can international students lodge an External Appeal?
What help is available?
The Office of the Training Advocate provides an independent, individually tailored service that provides:
- guidance or advice about the vocational education and training system in South Australia
- offers independent advice and/or support
- speaks for and/or negotiates for you to resolve issues or complaints
- where applicable, investigates complaints or refers them to the appropriate authority for attention
We can assist you with training related questions or complaints which may include:
- apprenticeships or traineeships
- vocational education and training
- higher education
- international education
- adult community education
If the Office of the Training Advocate is unable to assist, we can refer you to the appropriate authority or help you access the relevant service.
Please note: The Office of the Training Advocate will not duplicate existing services or those established under any other legislation and it cannot override the academic results or decisions of a Training Provider.
Who can access help?
The Office of the Training Advocate provides a service for anyone seeking information or advice about any aspect of the training system in South Australia including:
- domestic students enrolled with a South Australian Training Provider or Higher Education Provider
- apprentices or trainees
- international students
- employers and/or organisations
- training providers
- other government agencies
- community organisations and/or industry bodies
What does it cost?
The services provided by the Office of the Training Advocate are free.
Is my enquiry or complaint confidential?
Yes. All enquiries or complaints are completely confidential.*
Your written consent (or that of a parent/guardian) may be required in situations where we will need to obtain information from a third party or provide information to a third party about your training related arrangements. For example a third party may be your training provider, your employer or another government agency.
* Your right to confidentiality may be waived where legislation requires a matter to be disclosed (eg Mandatory Reporting under the Children’s Protection Act 1993) or when the safety of others may be at risk (eg Work Health and Safety Act 2012). In these circumstances all reasonable precautions will be taken to protect the identity of the client.
Can I make an anonymous enquiry or complaint?
Yes. We do accept anonymous enquiries or complaints. However, the response or advice given or type of action taken will depend on the information provided to us.
How do I make a complaint?
You can make a complaint simply by phone, email or visiting the office directly. Alternative you may wish to lodge a complaint using our online complaint form.
We can arrange for translation and interpreter services if required. On receipt of your complaint we will discuss the options which are available to address your issue. We may require you to come into the office and speak to an advisor. If so it is important that you bring all information or documents which are relevant to your complaint.
Someone else can make a complaint on your behalf. However, your written consent will be required before any action can be taken.
What should I include in my complaint?
If you lodge a complaint, there should be enough information for us to understand your situation so that we can decide how to proceed. When writing or telling us about your complaint, it is important to consider:
- what happened
- where did the event/s take place
- when (time and date)
- who was involved
- are there any documents or correspondence which may be relevant - for example - a medical certificate, academic results, training plan, or enrolment form
- whether you have already taken any action in relation to your complaint. If so who did you speak to and what happened
- what action or outcome are you seeking?
If you make a written complaint it is important to include copies of all documents and correspondence relevant to your situation.
How long will it take to resolve my issue?
Most cases can be dealt with reasonably quickly if all information about your situation is readily available. Others may take a several weeks to finalise. In any event, your complaint will be dealt as quickly as possible and you will be kept informed of progress made.
During the management of your case the Office of the Training Advocate may need to contact you. Therefore if your contact details change please let us know.
How will my complaint be managed?
Your complaint will be given careful consideration and we will discuss with you the options available to address your issue. This may involve:
- providing you with information and advice which enables you to manage the complaint yourself;
- facilitating a meeting between the parties concerned;
- communicating directly with the other party or parties;
- referring you to a more appropriate complaints authority; or
- undertaking an independent investigation (this may be a more formal process which follows recognised investigation techniques and procedures).
To address your complaint we may contact the appropriate person/s or organisation to obtain information relevant to your situation. We will treat your information with privacy and respect, and collect, store, use and disclose your personal information only in accordance with the Privacy Act 1988 (Cth).
In some cases, we may not accept your complaint. This might happen if you have not yet attempted to resolve your complaint with the relevant person/s or organisation or where there is a more appropriate jurisdiction or organisation that can help you.
If there are reasons why we may not accept your complaint, we will explain them to you.
What happens if there is an investigation?
If we conduct an investigation we will obtain all the relevant information and/or documents from you and the other party/ies involved. All parties involved will be informed of the outcome and advised of any recommended action.
What can I expect from the Office of the Training Advocate?
We will provide a confidential service which provides you with an independent and impartial assessment of your enquiry or complaint and provide advice about the available options. You can expect all staff to act in a professional and courteous manner.
We will give your situation confidential and prompt attention in line with legislative guidelines, using fair procedures. We will provide clear explanations about what we can and cannot do and for any decision we make. We will endeavour to keep you informed of the progress of your complaint.
How can I withdraw my complaint?
You can withdraw your complaint at any time by notifying the Office of the Training Advocate in writing either via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or via mail to The Office of the Training Advocate, GPO Box 320, Adelaide, SA, 5001.
What if I am dissatisfied with the outcome and/or actions taken to address my complaint?
Feedback about our service is important. We are committed to improving our service to the community, and your views are welcome.
If you wish to lodge a complaint about the Office of the Training Advocate please do so in writing addressed to the Training Advocate within 6 months of the service being provided to you. Complaints lodged after 6 months have elapsed may be accepted at the discretion of the Training Advocate.
Lodgement can occur via email at email@example.com or via mail to The Office of the Training Advocate, GPO Box 320, Adelaide, SA, 5001.
Complaints about the Office of the Training Advocate’s processes may also be lodged with the State Ombudsman. Timeframes for lodging such a complaint are set by the State Ombudsman’s Office.
Can apprentices and trainees access support through the SA Industrial Relations Commission (SAIRC) process?
Yes. If you are an apprentice or trainee we can provide you with support to access the SAIRC’s dispute process to address a grievance relating to your training contract. If you have any questions about this process contact the Office of the Training Advocate.
Can international students lodge an External Appeal?
Yes. If you are an international student you are able to lodge an external appeal regarding study or training related issues. If you have any questions about this process contact the Office of the Training Advocate.