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Improving the workplace experience of apprentices

Partner agencies: 
The Fair Work Ombudsman
Registration date: 
Tuesday, 15 October 2019

BETA is working with the Fair Work Ombudsman to evaluate the impacts of  behaviourally-informed messages on awareness and understanding of workplace laws among recently commenced apprentices and their employers, and, in turn, on the apprentices’ workplace experience.  

Additional trial information

Trial start and end date: 11 September 2019 to 30 September 2020

Intervention start and end date: 18 September 2019 to 30 April 2020

Ethics approval:

Name: Bellberry Human Research Ethics Committee

Approval Number: 2018-12-1061-A-2

Approval Date: 23 August 2019

Experimental design including randomisation:

A two-arm cluster randomised trial, to be evaluated using quantitative (administrative and survey data) and qualitative data (interviews).

Apprentices and their employers will be enrolled in batches, based on monthly commencement data of apprentices, to reach the desired sample size.

Randomisation will be clustered at the business level and stratified by business size, for each batch of apprentices and their employers. The allocation ratio for the two arms of the trial will be 1:1.

Intervention(s): Apprentices and employers in the treatment arm will receive a series of messages (SMS and email) in pairs. The control arm will not receive any intervention (pure control). The messages are informed by a range of behavioural insights.

Control condition: Pure control - the control group will not receive any messages.


Primary outcome:

  • Retention rate of apprentices as a binary measure (whether or not the apprentice is still in their training during the period of the trial).

Supplementary outcomes:

  • Apprentices’ self-reported supervisor support
  • Apprentices’ self-reported workplace experience
  • Apprentice and employer awareness and understanding of workplace laws
  • Apprentices’ and employers’ confidence in raising and resolving workplace issues
  • Likelihood of contract cancellation

Expected sample size: Participants in the trial are estimated to be approximately 3,000 apprentices, and their approximately 1,000 employers. The assignment ratio between control and treatment arms will be 1:1.

Other: AEA pre-registration