Version 20
December 2021
School-based apprenticeships and traineeships (PDF, 164KB)

Information to get started

School-based apprentices and trainees, typically in Years 10, 11 and 12, are trained in the workplace and with a training organisation, in their chosen apprenticeship or traineeship while continuing to study towards their Queensland Certificate of Education or equivalent.

To commence a school-based apprenticeship or traineeship (SAT), a student must first have the support of their school. The support of the employer, supervising registered training organisation (referred to as training organisation), and their parent or guardian will also be required.

The employer, student and parent or guardian (if appropriate) will be required to sign a training contract (with the assistance of an Australian Apprenticeship Support Network [AASN] provider) agreeing to work together for the length of the apprenticeship or traineeship.

It is anticipated that, prior to lodging the training contract for registration, the AASN provider will ensure that the parties to the contract work together, and with the parent or guardian and the school, to negotiate a schedule of education, training and employment (ETES). There must be some impact on the student's school timetable for the program to be considered school-based and this schedule will show that impact. The ATF-023 Education, Training and Employment Schedule form is optional and available to assist the parties to record the agreed arrangements.

Paid employment requirements

All school-based apprentices and trainees are paid for time spent working with their employer. However, the employer should contact the Fair Work Ombudsman to discuss the industrial relations provisions applicable to the employer and determine the following matters:

  • whether or not the apprentice or trainee will be paid for time spent undertaking training delivered by the training organisation
  • leave entitlements (e.g. sick leave, recreation leave etc) or a loaded rate of pay compensating for no leave accruals.

The employer must commit to providing a minimum of 7.5 hours per week of paid employment, which may be averaged over a 3-month period. The employer may provide the equivalent of a 'day' employment as part days across the week.

The employer must commit to providing a minimum of 375 hours (50 days) of paid employment over each 12-month period from the date of commencement of the training contract. These hours are to be negotiated with the school and the school-based apprentice or trainee prior to the commencement of the training contract. A school-based apprentice or trainee can work additional hours or days including during weekends or across school holidays as agreed between the parties.

For training contracts in electrotechnology, a minimum of 600 hours (80 days) of paid employment must be provided each 12-month period from the date of commencement.

Prior to completing a school-based training contract, a trainee must have completed a minimum of 50 days of paid employment for each year of the equivalent full-time nominal term of the traineeship. The nominal term is based on the duration (months) as indicated on the Queensland Training Information Service (QTIS) website for a full-time training contract specific to the traineeship.

Completion should focus on the trainee achieving a quality training outcome and genuine competence to the workplace/industry standards, not just meeting the minimum paid employment requirements.

The Department of Employment, Small Business and Training may request evidence to confirm the minimum paid employment was worked.

School-based trainees who are nearing the end of Year 12 and have finished their training with their training organisation, however are unlikely to meet the minimum paid work requirement due to circumstances beyond their control can put a business case to the Queensland Training Ombudsman for independent consideration of their case for completion.

Visit the QTIS website for apprenticeship and traineeship nominal durations.

Employers with 24 or more school-based apprentices or trainees

If the cumulative total of current and proposed school-based apprentices and/or trainees to be engaged at the workplace will exceed 24, approval will need to be sought from the department prior to commencing the sign-up of the training contract.

This requirement does not apply to group training organisations (GTOs) or principal employment organisations (PEOs).

Government contributions to training costs

The User Choice policy establishes limits to the amount of public funding which is available to individual school-based apprentices and trainees under the program.

Apprentices and trainees, including school-based, can receive only a maximum of 2 government contributions; a second qualification will be funded only if it is a Priority One qualification, has a higher priority ranking than the first qualification that has been completed, or was undertaken subsequent to a student having completed a qualification under the Skilling Queenslanders for Work initiative.

The training organisation must provide students (and their parent or guardian) with adequate information to allow an informed decision about which qualification they will undertake as the decision may affect their access to further funding.

Under the User Choice program, school-based apprentices and trainees are exempt from paying student contribution fees to the training organisation whilst they are at school.

Read more information about these subsidies.

Leaving school

If a school-based apprentice or trainee is not completed prior to the student leaving school, it must be converted to full-time or part-time arrangements. A trainee will still be required to complete the minimum number of paid working days prior to being eligible to complete the training contract.

The department will convert school-based apprentices and trainees to full-time arrangements the day after their Year 12 school year ends. However, for school-based apprentices and trainees who leave school before the end of Year 12, the employer, apprentice or trainee and parent or guardian must submit the ATF-035 Amendment of a registered training contract form to convert the training contract to full-time or part-time. Once converted, appropriate award wages and conditions apply—contact the Fair Work Ombudsman for assistance.

Once a student's training contract has been converted from school-based, they may be required to pay the student contribution fees and charges to the training organisation. The student should contact the training organisation to discuss these fees.

Limit to off-the-job training which may be provided

There is a limit to the amount of off-the-job training that school-based apprentices may complete whilst at school, dependent on the nominal term (full-time equivalent) of the apprenticeship:

  • 4-year nominal term – a maximum of 33.3% of the competencies
  • 3-year nominal term – a maximum of 40% of the competencies
  • 2-year nominal term – a maximum of 50% of the competencies.

In exceptional circumstances, and only with the prior approval of the department, it may be possible to exceed the above off-the-job training limits. Applications should be directed to the department. Note, the off-the-job training limit does not apply to traineeships.

Business cases for students outside Year 10, 11 and 12

Students enrolled and attending school in a year other than 10, 11  or 12 may be considered to undertake a SAT, provided a business case has been approved prior to commencing.

Note: Where a training contract commences after the end of the student's Year 9 school year and the student is enrolled to return to school to start Year 10 the next year, a business case is not required.

For details on the requirements of a business case, contact the department.

Specific information relating to electrotechnology apprenticeships

Entry into electrotechnology apprenticeships is limited to students in Years 11 and 12 only. Particular requirements apply to school-based apprenticeships in the electrotechnology industry, and these are listed against the electrotechnology qualifications on the QTIS website.

For further information


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Last updated 9 December 2021

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