Apprenticeships and traineeships combine training with working in a real job, with a real boss, for a real wage. Apprentices and trainees work towards the completion of a nationally recognised qualification while learning valuable skills at work and under the guidance of a training organisation.
Becoming an apprentice or trainee could be the best thing you ever do. You'll be trained and mentored all the way. You'll earn a wage and work towards a qualification that could really take you places.
What is the difference between an apprentice and a trainee?
Apprentices are trained in a skilled trade (e.g. electrical, plumbing, cabinet-making, automotive) and, upon successful completion, become a qualified tradesperson. Apprenticeships generally take up to 4 years to complete.
Trainees are trained in vocational areas (e.g. business administration, information technology, tourism) and, upon successful completion, receive a qualification in their chosen vocational area. Traineeships generally take between 12 months and 3 years to complete.
Quick facts about apprenticeships and traineeships
- Apprenticeships and traineeships combine work with structured training.
- Apprenticeships and traineeships can be full-time, part-time, or school-based - where some training is undertaken while the apprentice or trainee is in high school. However, apprenticeships and traineeships cannot be completed on a casual basis.
- Existing employees may undertake an apprenticeship or traineeship.
- Apprenticeships and traineeships require employers to enter into a training contract with the apprentice or trainee, which is a legally binding agreement to work and train together for a length of time.
- Employers work with a training organisation and the apprentice or trainee to negotiate a training plan.
Types of apprenticeships and traineeships
Free apprenticeships for under 21s
The Queensland Government will cover the cost of your training with a training provider. You must be under 21, and commence, or be undertaking, a priority apprenticeship or traineeship qualification from 1 July 2019 to 30 June 2023.
Find out more information about Free apprenticeships.
Adult and mature age
Commencing an apprenticeship or traineeship is the same for all, no matter what age. If you're a bit older and looking to start an apprenticeship or traineeship, you bring with you maturity, reliability, life experience and knowledge, not only to your employer but to other staff.
- Your existing skills and experience (gained from education, training, work and life experience) may provide you with credit and may reduce your training time. Recognition of prior learning (RPL) is the formal recognition of these skills and can be discussed with the training organisation when negotiating the training plan.
- As a mature age apprentice or trainee, you may earn different wages compared to younger apprentices and trainees. You can contact the Fair Work Ombudsman on 13 13 94 to discuss wages.
- Employers of mature age apprentices and trainees may attract specific incentives through the Australian Government. Contact the Australian Apprenticeship Support Network on 13 38 73.
- As a school-based apprentice or trainee, you will undertake an apprenticeship or traineeship as part of your high school studies (generally in years 10, 11 and 12).
- Your employment and/or training arrangements must impact on your school timetable for the program to be considered school-based.
- The nominal term of a school-based apprenticeship or traineeship is generally double that of the full-time apprenticeship or traineeship.
Read more about school-based apprenticeships and traineeships.
Full-time or part-time
- Full-time apprentices and trainees work and train an average of 38 hours per week and have ongoing employment
- Part-time apprentices and trainees are rostered to work on a regular basis, working and training no less than 15 hours per week, averaged over a 4-week cycle.
- Existing workers may be employed as an apprentice or trainee in a full-time or part-time capacity.
- The nominal term of a part-time apprenticeship or traineeship is generally double that of the full-time apprenticeship or traineeship.