About COVID-19

COVID-19 frequently asked questions

Information for international students

Returning to campus

Information for VETDSS, VCE and VCAL

17 August 2020

A message to employers from the Director and CEO, Stephen Varty

The Stage 4 restrictions have further reduced the courses we are permitted to deliver on campus. On the advice of the Department of Education and Training (DET), our courses have been divided into two categories - those that we can continue to deliver and assess on campus and those that we must move to remote learning only.

Our first priority is the health and wellbeing of our staff and students. We are therefore only bringing students on campus for essential assessment. Where we have more flexibility, we have been able to transition students to remote delivery only. Therefore, if your apprentice is completing an approved course, and we request your apprentice to attend on campus it is classed as essential. If you have been provided a timetable for remote delivery, then this will remain in place unless you hear otherwise from us.

We have an obligation to our students, and to you, to complete your apprentice’s training within the required time frames. Our requirements around course completion have not been remodelled, and so we are effectively working to a pre-determined schedule in an incredibly challenging environment.

In recent days, numerous calls and emails to our trades staff, educators and apprenticeship hub have conveyed frustrations of some employers. We appreciate these circumstances are difficult for business operators and families. It is important to emphasise that if your apprentice is required to attend for assessment purposes, we will ensure a safe environment in line with our COVIDSafe plan.

We carefully plan all on-campus essential training and assessment for students, and all of our practices and workspaces adhere to the requirements set down by the Department of Education and Training and Victoria’s Chief Health Officer.

We continue to provide a range of services to students including counselling, financial information, disability assistance and Indigenous Engagement. Our Student Support team is also available for the full range of services remotely on 1300 244 746 or studentservices@chisholm.edu.au.

Should you have any questions concerning your apprentice or our education delivery, I encourage you to contact us at employerupdates@chisholm.edu.au.

Thank you once again for your ongoing support and patience during these difficult times.

Stephen Varty
Director and CEO
Chisholm Institute.

Key information

Chisholm continues to work closely with both the Federal and State government authorities including the Department of Education and Training (DET) and the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS).

We’re maintaining remote learning for most of our students, while also continuing our on-campus delivery for essential training and assessment.

In recent weeks we’ve carefully planned the return to campus for small numbers of classes and workshops to ensure the health and safety of students at all times. The campus environment, classrooms and practical areas have changed to manage the social distancing and other health and hygiene requirements, as detailed by the Department of Education and Training and the Chief Health Officer.

For employers of apprentices required back on campus for training or assessment, you will receive confirmation prior to the return to campus date for your staff member. Your staff member will also receive notification of their requirement to return-to-campus, the dates, times, and buildings.

Apprentices (and all students) returning to campus will also receive detailed information of the health and safety requirements of on-campus training and learning and the expectations we have of all students that they will adhere to the new protocols, which include social distancing.

Revised training plans may also be sent to apprentices and employers ahead of time, to allow for adjustment to new schedules. To minimise the risk of contact, the Government has allowed for training plans to be agreed to by the employer’s return email confirmation, rather than the signed document.

For employers who may have questions or concerns about training or additional support services that are available to your apprentice at this time, please contact our Apprenticeship Hub, Monday to Friday 8.30am – 5pm via 1300 775 265 or apphub@chisholm.edu.au.

Return to campus

The return to campus continues to be a very gradual process and we have carefully planned the staging of classes and workshops to ensure the health and safety of students at all times. The campus environment, classrooms and practical areas have changed to manage the social distancing and other health and hygiene requirements, as detailed by the Department of Education and Training and the Chief Health Officer.

Security will be available on campus to assist students to arrive at their designated class area, advise them of the hand sanitisation points, and remind them of their social distancing requirements.

In the workshop or practical areas:

  • Class sizes have been significantly reduced to manage social distancing and effective learning.
  • Educators will begin each class with a detailed briefing of hygiene requirements prior to the commencement of each lesson.
  • If you or your apprentice have any concerns during this return-to-campus phase, please raise these immediately with the Apprenticeship Hub on 1300 775 265 or email apphub@chisholm.edu.au.

On campus arrival and classes:

  • Attendance on-campus will be restricted to the building, designated classroom and training areas.
  • Entry and exit points will be clearly identified and signposted.
  • Masks must be worn to and from campus and while in the learning environment.
  • Your apprentice will be required to maintain a 1.5 metre distance at all times.
  • Hand sanitiser and antiseptic wipes will be available throughout the spaces. Students will be required to wipe down their workspaces throughout the day.
  • Students will be required to leave the campus as soon as their activities are completed.
  • We are requesting that they bring their own food and drink if required, as our on-campus café remains closed.
  • It is important that students arrive on time to ensure effective and sufficient learning and assessment is undertaken.

In the workshop or practical areas:

  • Class sizes have been significantly reduced to manage social distancing and effective learning.
  • The educator will brief your apprentice on hygiene requirements prior to the commencement of each lesson.
  • If your apprentice has any concerns while on campus, they should be raised immediately with the educator.
  • We have contacted each apprentice directly to ensure they are fully informed of the details.
  • We hope this return-to-campus is a suitable progression for your apprentice and your business operation. If you have any questions at all, please contact the Apprenticeship Hub on 1300 775 265 or email apphub@chisholm.edu.au.

Apprentice and employer frequently asked questions

I’m an apprentice or School Based Apprentices and Trainees (SBAT) and have lost my job. What help is currently available?

The Retrenched Apprentices and Trainees Program commenced in May 2020 in response to COVID-19. The program aims to assist apprentices and trainees who have lost their employment to continue their training.

The Department of Education and Training (DET) has commissioned Apprenticeship Employment Network (AEN) Victoria, the peak body for group training employers, to develop and administer the program.

Apprentices and trainees can register their details at https://aen.org.au/outoftrade/ and a case manager will be appointed to assist them.

Other support available for our apprentices:

If you are up to date with your tuition fees, we encourage you to continue to attend TAFE while looking for a new employer. Talk to your teacher about how this will work.

Employers of apprentices and SBATs can access assistance to retain their employees over this time. For more information, please refer to the Australian Government's Supporting apprentices and trainees page.

The Federal Government has a number of payments to support Australians in financial hardship:

Support for apprentices, trainees and SBATs that have been suspended or cancelled

  • Australian Apprenticeship Support Network (AASN) providers can offer advice to SBATs, apprentices and trainees that have been suspended or cancelled. This also includes assistance in finding potential new employers and making sure training carries on to support apprenticeships.
  • The National Apprentice Employment Network (NAEN) have a central re-engagement register for apprentices, trainees and SBATs who have lost their employment and seeking a new employer. Employers can also register if they have vacancies at the Apprentice and trainee re-engagement register page.
  • Students are urged to register if they have had their apprenticeship, traineeship or SBAT suspended or cancelled.
  • Apprentices and trainees who are not receiving the Youth Allowance (Apprentice) payment, and who have lost their job and are not receiving an income due to the the economic impacts of coronavirus (COVID-19) can apply for the new JobSeeker payments via Services Australia website.
  • Apprentices and trainees seeking JobSeeker payments do not need to provide an employment separation certificate. This means that apprentices who have had their apprenticeship suspended, but not terminated, will be eligible for JobSeeker payments.
  • If you are seeking alternative employment, you can register with the Victorian Government’s Working for Victoria program and/or access the Commonwealth Government’s Jobs Hub.

What is Working for Victoria?

  • On 21 March 2020, the Premier announced a $500 million Working for Victoria Fund.
  • The fund will connect workers with new jobs that will support our state’s response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
  • This program includes retraining and certifying workers for direct employment now and to have skills for the post- coronavirus (COVID-19) economy.
  • Those wanting to register their interest in jobs or training should visit the Working for Victoria website.

I want to enrol but cannot afford it. What are my options?

If you have a current health care card, you may be eligible for a scholarship via the Caroline Chisholm Education Foundation (CCEF) to cover the tuition and material fees. Please visit the CCEF website, or contact scholarships@chisholm.edu.au for more information.

Students are encouraged to explore their eligibility for Centrelink support. The Federal Government will provide a temporary additional payment of $550 for eligible income support recipients (including Austudy). For more information, please visit Service Australia’s COVID-19 Information page. For help with how to claim, please visit Services Australia's Register your intention to claim a payment - coronavirus (COVID-19) page.

Can I access any financial support/information while at Chisholm?

Yes, our Student Wellbeing Officer is available for appointments. Students can contact the Student Wellbeing Officer on 9212 5269 or email financesupport@chisholm.edu.au.

I’m currently enrolled and would like to withdraw. How can I do this?

Prior to withdrawing, please contact our Financial Support team on 9212 5269 or email financesupport@chisholm.edu.au so we can discuss all options available to support you during this time.

If you want to pursue withdrawal of course and request a refund of fees due to financial crisis, a refund of tuition fees will be provided for units not yet commenced. Please note, apprentices are able to continue studies they have paid for, to keep their apprenticeship progressing even if they don’t have an employer. Speak to your relevant trade department, or the Apprenticeship Hub on 1300 775 265.

I’m struggling to pay my bills. What can I do?

If you're having financial difficulties, having problems with an insurance claim process, or can't make your loan repayments due to COVID-19, contact your bank or financial service provider first and ask for assistance. The type of assistance offered by financial providers will depend on individual circumstances, but can include:

  • A deferral of scheduled loan repayments
  • Waiving fees and charges
  • Interest-free periods or no interest rate increases
  • Debt consolidation to help make repayments more manageable.

If you run into problems during this process, contact the Australian Financial Complaints Authority on 1800 931 678 or visit the Australian Financial Complaints Authority website.

If you are struggling with your finances at the moment, call the National Debt Helpline on 1800 007 007 and speak to a free independent financial counsellor.

Is there help available in my community?

No Interest Loans (NILS) provide individuals and families on low incomes with access to safe, fair and affordable credit. Loans are available for essential goods and services such as fridges, washing machines, computers and medical procedures for up to $1,500. Repayments are set at an affordable amount over 12 to 18 months. For more information, please call 13 NILS or refer to the NILS website.

Local community support centres are a valuable resource, enabling residents to access services such as case management, financial counselling, and emergency relief. For further information regarding support centres near you, please contact Community Information & Support Victoria (CISVic) on 9672 2000, or refer to the CISVic website.

Similar support may be available through the Salvation Army. For information regarding your local corps, please visit the Salvation Army website.

Contact Student Services on 9212 5269 or email studentservices@chisholm.edu.au for a full list of resources available to those in the south-east regions of Greater Dandenong, Casey Cardinia, Frankston and Mornington Peninsula.

I want to continue to study, but I don’t have a computer or internet access

You may be eligible to loan a laptop from Chisholm to support your studies. Please contact Students can contact the Student Wellbeing Officer on 9212 5269 or email financesupport@chisholm.edu.au for further details.

How is Chisholm managing COVID-19?

Chisholm is actively monitoring the outbreak of the new coronavirus (COVID-19) to ensure our response places the wellbeing of our students and community first.

Following advice and direction from the DHHS, we have undertaken a range of measures to minimise the health risks for our students and staff, including:

  • implementing social distancing measures for those still on campus postponed student and community gatherings and events
  • encouraging good hygiene practices amongst students and staff, including washing hands regularly and increasing access to hand sanitiser and alcohol wipes
  • students must wear masks as required by the Victorian Government
  • increasing routine cleaning activities in high traffic areas and large class/program areas
  • providing regular information to students, staff and our business and industry partners.

Should I still enrol my new apprentice at Chisholm?

Chisholm continues to enrol and commence new apprentices. To ensure your apprentice has the greatest chance of success, they must be enrolled.

Our Apprenticeship Hub has introduced new procedures to facilitate the remote enrolment of apprentices. Therefore, most apprentices will not have to attend a campus to complete the enrolment process.

Are classes and training still on?

For students who can continue to learn remotely, this will continue through Term 3. However, for those students who need to be on-campus for training or assessment, your educator/trainer will contact students with the details of your new timetable and safety protocols.

Are classes at regional campuses being transferred?

We have consolidated campus activity Dandenong, Frankston, Berwick and Cranbourne. Activity at our Wonthaggi and Rosebud campuses is limited and most classes were transitioned earlier. in the year. In Term 3, regional campuses may open at set times for students who need to complete training or assessments on-site and under supervision. However, this will only in exceptional circumstances. Essential training or assessment will be transferred to one of the four main campuses when required. Students will be contacted by their educators if this is required.

We continue to provide a service across the whole of the Chisholm student community

For general enquiries, please call 1300 244 746 or email enquiries@chisholm.edu.au. For support services, including counselling, please call 1300 244 746 or email: studentservices@chisholm.edu.au. To access the extensive digital resources or the library WebChat, please visit our Library website. If you need to access a computer, printing or internet, you can visit Building A of our Frankston campus, where social distancing practices have been implemented.

I am a student learning remotely. How do I use Zoom?

Chisholm has updated its security for all Zoom meetings and this means some things have changed to the way you use it.

If you have any questions, or need any help to optimise their Zoom settings, contact the ITS Service Desk on 9212 5444, servicedesk@chisholm.edu.au or the Service Now Self-Service Portal, where you’ll find more ‘how-to’ guides to connect you with Zoom and other remote learning technologies.

My apprentice is unwell

The health and wellbeing of our apprentices, employers, Chisholm staff, students and our community is our priority. We must be extra vigilant during these times, as we understand your workplace will be also.

Please advise your apprentice to seek medical advice. If your apprentice is concerned about their health and requires testing for COVID-19, please let us know by emailing the details to studentsafety@chisholm.edu.au.

What if testing confirms my apprentice has COVID-19?

If testing confirms that your apprentice has COVID-19, please follow all of the required medical and self-isolation advice being provided to employers and the public by the relevant government authorities.

You will also need to notify us at studentsafety@chisholm.edu.au with the following information:

  • Name
  • Campus
  • Course or program name
  • Classes attended
  • Date/time of notification
  • Contact phone number

All student details and personal information will be subject to privacy provisions.

Chisholm will notify affected students if we have a confirmed case of COVID-19 with advice from the DHHS.

Employer support

Supporting apprentices and trainees

For fact sheets for supporting apprentices and trainees, visit the Department of Education, Skills and Employment webpage.

This information has been provided by the Australian Government, Department of Education, Skills and Employment. As part of the Government’s Economic Response to the Coronavirus, $1.3 billion will be made available to 70,000 small businesses to help them keep around 117,000 apprentices and trainees across the country in work and training.

For information on the coronavirus aid package for apprentices contact your Australian Apprenticeship Support Network (AASN) provider.

For advice about workplace entitlements and obligations if you're affected by the outbreak of coronavirus visit Fair Work.

I’m unsure about the block dates or if they’ve changed?

If you have any other queries about your apprentice or block dates, please contact:

The Apprenticeship Hub email: apphub@chisholm.edu.au or phone: 1300 775 265

Additional important links and information