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Apprenticeships and traineeships


Australian Apprenticeships is the term which includes both apprenticeships and traineeships. They combine time at work with training and can be full-time, part-time or school-based, they give you a nationally recognised qualification and the experience you need to get the job you want.

Apprenticeships normally last three to four years and are usually offered in the traditional trade industries such as plumbing, carpentry, building, electrical and hairdressing.

Traineeships normally last one to two years and are most often specific to non-trade areas such as hospitality, retail, information technology, business administration, sport and recreation.

School-based apprenticeships and traineeships

Senior high school students can participate in school-based apprenticeships and traineeships while at school.

As a school-based apprentice/trainee, you'll be paid while being trained — and both your on-the-job and off-the-job training can contribute to your HSC. What's more, since you'll already have a job and have started your training, you'll be qualified quicker.

School-based apprentices work part-time and start the first stage of their structured training while at school. School-based trainees work part-time and complete their formal training by the end of their HSC year.

Who is eligible and what are the benefits?

Australian Apprenticeships are available to anyone of working age with or without a secondary school certificate or other qualification. You can be a school-leaver, re-entering the workforce or an adult worker simply wishing to change careers.

Australian Apprenticeships provide a range of benefits:

  • a pathway from school to work, or from one career to another
  • lead to nationally recognised qualifications and skills which provide the basis for employment, further education and training over the course of your working life
  • involves paid work and structured training that can be on-the-job or a combination of both
  • existing skills and prior experience can be recognised and course credit granted, potentially reducing formal training
  • 'competency based' which means you can complete your training faster if you reach the required skill level.

Support in apprenticeships/traineeships for people with a disability

Australian Apprentices with disability may be eligible for tutorial, mentoring, and interpreting support through the Disabled Australian Apprentice Wage Support Scheme (DAAWS). This assistance is provided by the Registered Training Organisation delivering the off-the-job training. The apprentices' employer may also be eligible for financial support through DAAWS.

Workplace Modifications

Funding for necessary adjustments to the workplace may be provided to employers of Australian Apprentices who have a disability. These may include such things as the purchase of equipment to help the Australian Apprentice in their work, physical modifications, Auslan interpreting or awareness training for work colleagues. The employer may be eligible for reimbursement (limits apply) of the costs of such adjustments through the Employment Assistance Fund.

How to find an apprenticeship or traineeship

If you have a disability you can receive help to find an apprenticeship/traineeship from the Disability Employment Service (DES). There is more information about this in the employment section of this website.

Here are some other ways to find an apprenticeship or traineeship:

  • Get careers advice. More information is available on this website.
  • Do some networking. Talk to friends, relatives, careers advisers and people in the industry.
  • Find out as much information as possible about the business by researching online or by visiting and asking questions. Be prepared!
  • Make individual contact with potential employers in businesses in the industry you are interested in-either by letter and resume or by calling in person.
  • Australian Apprenticeships are often advertised on the Jobsearch website. The advanced search feature allows you to search specifically for an apprenticeship or traineeship.
  • Apprenticeships/ traineeships are advertised in major and local newspapers.
  • The Australian Apprenticeship Support Network or Group Training Company may be able to assist.
  • Visit websites of suitable companies and organisations - many have information about vacancies and how to apply.

Links for more information

The information on this page has been sourced from the following websites:

Australian Apprenticeships: The Australian Government's main website on the program.

Australian Apprenticeships Job Pathways: A one-stop website that let's you search for more information.

NSW Apprenticeships and Traineeships

National Disability Coordination Officer Program LogoWestern Sydney University