Frequently asked questions
(Apprenticeships & Traineeships)
What is the difference between an apprenticeship and a traineeship?
Apprenticeships and traineeships are both called 'Australian Apprenticeships'. See the full range at Australian Apprenticeships official government website. Generally, traineeships are for six months to two years. Apprenticeships usually take three or four years. But it's flexible. The quicker you learn all the skills, the sooner you can finish.
How old do you have to be?
To do an Apprenticeship or Traineeship, you must be over 15 years old. Adults can also start apprenticeships, and may have their study time shortened because of their prior work experience.
What education level do I need to start an apprenticeship/traineeship?
There is no minimum education level, but many employers may require you to have completed at least year 11. Many apprenticeship and traineeship qualifications are now available as part time Australian School-based Apprenticeships, ASAs. You can study for the Victorian Certificate of Applied Learning (VCAL), a senior school certificate that focuses on 'hands on' learning. VCAL prepares you for the future by developing skills for further education, training and employment. You can start a part-time apprenticeship during this course, so you can earn and learn at the same time AND end up with a school certificate and an apprenticeship! Or a pre-apprenticeship course may help you decide whether you want to take on an apprenticeship. Pre-apprenticeships are courses that run for about a semester. Many employers recruit apprentices from pre-apprenticeship courses, so doing one may help you find a job.
Can I enrol in apprenticeship training before I get a job?
No, you must have signed a training contract with an employer before you can start your training at TAFE. You can enrol in a Pre-apprenticeship course first, which will improve your changes of starting an apprenticeship.
How do I go about getting an apprenticeship?
You need to have a plan, and copies of an up-to-date resume. More people get jobs through referrals from family and friends than from ads. Tell people in your network of friends and family that you are looking for work, as they might know other people who may be helpful.
- Check newspapers for Apprenticeships and Traineeships ads.
- Ask every employee you and your family and friends know if there are likely to be vacancies for apprentices or trainees at their workplace
- Visit the Australian Job Search website
- Contact an Australian Apprenticeships Centre (AAC). They provide Apprenticeship and Traineeship information and services to employers and job seekers.
- Contact the Defence Force Careers Centre for information on Australian Apprenticeships in the Australian Defence Force.
- Contact the Group Training Organisations in your region (see below)
- Use the Yellow Pages to make a list of potential employers. Contact employers directly and ask if they would be willing to employ you as an apprentice/trainee.
- Contact employment agencies such as our Employment Centre at Kangan Institute.
What is a Group Training Scheme?
A Group Training Company can employ you as an apprentice or trainee. They will 'hire' you out to other businesses, called 'host employers,' while you do your training. You may get rotated from business to business, so you receive a broad range of training and experience.
Contact a Group Training organisation and ask what apprenticeship or traineeship positions are available. Visit the Group Training Australia website to find a list of companies.
How do I know that an employer is offering me a genuine apprenticeship?
If an employer has offered you an apprenticeship or traineeship, the employer will need to contact an Australian Apprenticeship Centre (AAC) to arrange a training contract. An AAC representative will visit the workplace and organise the paperwork. If you're under 18, both you and your parents will need to sign the training contract.
The AAC representative can answer any questions you may have about the apprenticeship or traineeship. More details of Australian Apprenticeship Centres can be found at: www.australianapprenticeships.gov.au or by phoning 1800 639 629
I live in the country. How can I do my apprenticeship training?
Most city-based apprentices do their training at TAFE one day per week, while country based students can arrange to train for one week every five or six weeks, and stay in the city while they do that training. This is called Block Release.
What is Block Release?
See the question above.
Will I get paid for the days I go to training at TAFE?
Most trainees are paid a wage based on the National Training Wage Award. Apprentice wages vary, depending on the industry. Your pay as an apprentice comes from your employer and is calculated to allow for the fact that you are away at training for some of your time.
Is there any financial help for apprentices during their training?
There are now incentives for first year apprentices such as a $500 first year financial incentive and a $800 tool allowance and scholarships if you take up an apprenticeship in a skill shortage trade. Employers may be paid an incentive allowance if they are willing to re-train their existing adult workers as apprentices. Apprentices and trainees may be eligible for a Living Away From Home Allowance in their first three years.
Who can help me if I am having problems with my apprenticeship?
An Apprenticeship Field Officer can help you if you feel that things aren't quite right. Contact 1300 722 603 for more information.