Apprenticeships And Traineeships In Australia: Explained

People are asking about the difference between an apprenticeship and a traineeship in Australia.


If you want to jumpstart your career, an apprenticeship or traineeship is one of the best ways to move forward in your profession.


As an apprentice or trainee, you will benefit from the relevant and organised competency-based training through which you will learn new skills that you can put to use immediately. You will also be working, which means you will get paid as you learn and gain valuable on-the-job experience.


Taking on the role of an apprentice or trainee might be the best decision you ever make. You will get mentored and trained every step of the way, helping you receive qualifications and experience to explore new opportunities.


Read the guide below to know everything about Australian traineeships and apprenticeships and how they can help you further your education and take the next step in your career.



1. What is an Apprenticeship or Traineeship?


Apprenticeships and traineeships combine hands-on job experience and training in an actual workplace, under the supervision of a real boss, for an actual salary.


Trainees and apprentices work towards getting a nationally recognised VET qualification while acquiring essential skills in the workplace and under the supervision of a training organisation.


You can complete an apprenticeship in Australia through RTOs (Registered Training Organizations), which are presently over 500 across the country.


Qualifications may vary from a Certificate II to an Advanced Diploma in a variety of traditional trades and other disciplines that are becoming increasingly popular.


Other fields, sometimes referred to as non-trades, are typically service-oriented sectors, such as administration, business, community services, sales, and hospitality.


All in all, traineeships and apprenticeships in Australia provide the theoretical and practical experience necessary to get a well-rounded education valued by both trade and non-trade companies.



2. What Do Traineeships And Apprenticeships Offer?


Most occupations, including foreign trades and a wide range of developing industrial areas, provide apprenticeships and traineeships at various qualification levels.


Indeed, they are offered by over 500 different occupations, ranging from horticulture and agriculture to public service, construction, tourism, and hairdressing (visit the apprenticeships Australia website to get more information).


3. What is the Difference Between an Apprenticeship and a Traineeship?


Although apprenticeships and traineeships are pretty similar in terms of how a student learns on the job, they slightly differ in terms of employment contracts and conditions.


Additionally, their completion time may also differ. Apprenticeships can take anywhere from 3 and a half to 4 years to complete, whilst traineeships can last anywhere from a few months to a year.


Another difference is that if an employer sells their firm, all apprentices hired by them must complete their apprenticeship with the new employer who is taking over the business from the previous owner. However, this is not the case with traineeship programmes, where participants would most certainly lose their jobs and programmes if this situation occurs.


Furthermore, the industries we typically see them in is another noticeable difference that tells them apart. Apprenticeships in Australia are increasingly focused on achieving job objectives and satisfying industries essential for the economy. This is the main reason why the government funds many pre-apprenticeship and apprenticeship courses.


On the other hand, traineeships are more suitable to meet short-term requirements and focus on occupational results. Many Australians rely on traineeships to enter rewarding professions in areas like elderly care, hospitality, office administration, retail, and more.


  Duration Employment Terms Qualification Levels Popular Courses


Between 1 to 4 years

Like regular employment contracts, traineeships can be terminated at any moment by either the employer or the trainee.

> Certificate II

> Certificate III

> Certificate IV

> Advanced

> Certificate II in Construction

> Certificate II in Automotive Servicing Technology

> Certificate II in Engineering Pathways

> Certificate II in Horticulture



Between 3 to 4 years

The contract cannot be terminated unless both the employer and apprentice mutually agree on the contract terms.

> Certificate II

> Certificate III

> Certificate IV

> Advanced

> Certificate III in Individual Support

> Certificate III in Hospitality

> Certificate IV in Beauty

> Therapy
Certificate IV in Hairdressing





4. What are the Different Types of Apprenticeships and Traineeships Available?


For those interested in learning more about the process ahead of time, below are the most common apprenticeships and traineeships available:


4.1 School-Based Apprenticeships and Traineeships


Many Australian industries enable students to undertake a part of their traineeship or apprenticeship in Australia while still enrolled in school. This entails combining off-the-job training (for instance, at TAFE), paid work, and secondary school study. If you've decided on a trade but still want to complete school, this is a great option.


Schools may allow you to participate in an apprenticeship or training by granting time off from academic subjects, such as enabling you to attend your training one afternoon every week.


Industries that provide school-based apprenticeships and traineeships include traditional trades (like plumbing), retail, hairdressing, and business services. It is always a good idea to check with your school's career counsellor to see if there are any suitable arrangements in place to meet your training needs.

Some schools in Australia may even provide the VET in Schools programs, which allows you to pursue a practical course in Year 11 and 12 as part of your academics, ranging from certificate I to certificate IV. Students can also combine their senior studies, school-based apprenticeship, and VET (Vocational Education and Training) qualifications through specialised RTOs (both independent and government-run).



4.2. Adult and Mature Age Apprenticeships and Traineeships
No matter what your age, starting an apprenticeship or traineeship is the same for everyone.


If you are a little older and searching for a traineeship or apprenticeship, you may contribute life experience, maturity, and reliability to the business as well as other employees. Here are a few other things you might want to look into:

Being a mature age trainee or apprentice, you may receive different salaries than younger trainees and apprentices. You can get in touch with the Fair Work Ombudsman to discuss apprenticeship and traineeship wages.

Your current experience and skills (acquired via training, education, life experience, and work) can be used to credit you and shorten your training time. The formal acknowledgement of these skills is known as Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) that you can further discuss with the training organisation while negotiating the training plan.


Employers of mature age trainees and apprentices may be eligible for specific government incentives. You can reach the Apprenticeship Support in Australia to get more information.




4.3  Full-Time or Part-Time Apprenticeships or Traineeships


Here are a few things you need to know about full-time or part-time apprenticeships or traineeships:


  • Part-time trainees and apprentices are scheduled to work on a daily basis, averaging 15 hours per week of training and working throughout a four-week cycle.


  • Full-time trainees and apprentices get to have continued employment and train and work for an average of 38 hours per week. 


  • The nominal term of a part-time traineeship or apprenticeship is typically twice that of a full-time traineeship or apprenticeship.


  • Existing employees can be hired as trainees or apprentices, either part-time or full-time.




5. What are the Entry Requirements for Apprenticeships and Traineeships?


Apprenticeships and traineeships often do not require any prior qualifications; thus, they are open to anybody who is legally allowed to work, including school children. You can take the following steps to obtain an apprenticeship or traineeship in Australia:


  • Step 1: Choose a career field that interests you the most, keeping in mind that there are over 500 traineeships and apprenticeships to select from. You can find a list of apprenticeships in Australia at Also, you can visit the Australian apprenticeships website to get detailed information.


  • Step 2: Look for job openings and contact your local job services Australia provider, Australian apprenticeships centre, group training organisation, or other firms in your desired industry to find an employer ready to hire you as an apprentice. You will need an updated resume and might be required to fill out job applications and attend interviews.


  • Step 3: As soon as you find an employer, ask them to contact your local Australian Skills and Training Information Centre or Apprenticeships Centre. They will assist you and your employer in enrolling in the National Training Contract and completing the required paperwork.


6. Who Can Do an Australian Apprenticeship or Traineeship?


Anyone, including adults, can begin a traineeship or apprenticeship if they are of working age and eligible to work in Australia.


You do not require a secondary school qualification or other certification to begin your traineeship or apprenticeship. However, companies or employers can set their own recruiting criteria when employing staff. For instance, an employer may set a minimum requirement to complete a pre-apprenticeship or finish year 11 or 12.


While still in school, students can begin an Australian Apprenticeship. People re-entering the workforce, school leavers, and those looking to obtain new skills or change careers are all popular candidates for apprenticeship and traineeship positions.


To be eligible for traineeships or apprenticeship programs, you must be:



Note: It's crucial to talk about your situation and how it can affect your ability to begin a traineeship or apprenticeship. For additional information, get in touch with your Apprenticeship Network provider.



7. Where are Traineeships and Apprenticeships Offered?


RTOs (Registered Training Organizations), which may include schools, TAFE institutes and private providers, Technical Education Centres (or similar RTOs that integrate secondary training with education), provide the training component of traineeships and apprenticeships.


On the other hand, various employers, such as the public service or private businesses, can fulfil the employment component. Not only that, but Group Training Organizations also offer apprenticeships and traineeships — they hire trainees and apprentices under a National Training Contract and position them with host employers.



8. What are the Benefits of an Apprenticeship or Traineeship?


As a professional route, completing a traineeship or apprenticeship in Australia offers several advantages. Here are some of them:



  • Get paid while you learn. As soon as you begin working in the industry, you start earning money. This also implies you are entitled to employment benefits, such as superannuation and workers' compensation.


  • Obtain a nationally recognised qualification that can serve as a springboard for further training and education throughout your career.


  • Update your skills in a field where you already work.


  • Develop practical skills relevant to the career or industry you choose to pursue.


  • You may be eligible for government financial assistance and other perks to help with your training costs.


  • Experience hands-on training in a classroom, in a workplace, or in a setting that is a combination of both.


  • Increase your worth as a skilled worker.


Note: You can also utilise your traineeship or apprenticeship as a stepping stone to a higher-level certification, such as university qualifications or other Vocational Education and Training (VET) qualifications.



9. Quick Traineeship and Apprenticeship Facts


Australian traineeships and apprenticeships require employers to enter into a training contract with a trainee or apprentice, committing to train and work together for a set period (as per the training contract length).


  • Apprenticeships and traineeships can be school-based, part-time, or full-time. The school-based apprenticeship or traineeship offers some training to the apprentice or trainee while still in high school. On the other hand, individuals cannot pursue traineeships and apprenticeships if their work is infrequent, irregular, or just casual.


  • Existing employees can undertake traineeship or apprenticeship.


  • Apprenticeships and traineeships combine structured training with work.


  • Employers need to negotiate a training plan with the apprentice or trainee and the training organisation.


Now that you know everything about how to become an apprentice in Australia, you are ready to start your apprenticeship or traineeship journey and advance your career.



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