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The Guide to school-based apprenticeships and traineeships (PDF, 330KB) is a comprehensive document covering all aspects of the school-based arrangement, including requirements, roles and responsibilities.

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School-based apprenticeships and traineeships (SATs) allow high school students, generally in Years 10, 11 or 12, to work for an employer and train towards a recognised qualification, while completing their secondary schooling and studying for their Queensland Certificate of Education (QCE) and/or Australian Tertiary Admission Rank (ATAR).

Note: The QCE system has changed. Year 12 students graduating in 2020 will receive an ATAR instead of an Overall Position (OP). The ATAR recognises a broader range of learning, including the significant role that vocational education and training (VET) plays in senior studies. Read more about the new QCE system.

SATs help young people go places, whether that's a full-time job, a trade career, university, TAFE or other training.

Advantages of school-based apprenticeships and traineeships

  • More flexibility and variety
    The variety provided by SATs can have enormous benefits for young people who prefer hands-on learning to traditional schooling pathways.
  • Head start in a career
    Young people employed as school-based apprentices and trainees develop workplace skills, knowledge and confidence and have a competitive edge when applying for jobs. A SAT can lead directly to full-time employment once a student has left school.
  • Nationally recognised qualification
    All school-based apprentices and trainees participate in vocational training that contributes to a Certificate II, III or higher vocational qualification which can count towards the student's QCE.
  • An opportunity to learn and earn
    School-based apprentices and trainees are paid while they learn workplace skills, gain confidence, and adapt to a work environment. It gives the student the opportunity to put skills learnt at school and the training organisation, into practice in a real work environment.
  • Contributing to the community
    Employers who take on school-based apprentices and trainees can make a real difference by motivating young people to work towards their future goals and giving them realistic exposure to the industry or sector.
  • Employer satisfaction
    Employers and supervisors often experience a great deal of satisfaction during the process as they help individuals mould new skills and gain confidence in a work environment.

How SATs work

SATs combine study, work and training to provide students with a head start on their career. There are some eligibility requirements that are specific to school-based apprentices and trainees.


Students must gain support and approval from their school to undertake a SAT. Students continue to attend school as usual, however, some of their paid employment and/or training will become part of their school timetable. A SAT must impact on the student's school timetable to be considered school-based. The ATIS-048 Determining the impact on the school timetable information sheet provides further details.

The school, student, their parent/guardian, employer and training organisation will negotiate a schedule which outlines when the student is at school, work and training. This schedule must indicate exactly how the SAT will impact the school timetable.

The school has a role in providing support to the student throughout the SAT.


Students enter a training contract with an employer. The training contract legally binds the employer and the student for the duration of the SAT. Sometimes the employer will be a group training organisation, principal employer organisation and/or a labour hire organisation who place apprentices and trainees with a range of host employers, who supervise and train and provide work on their behalf.

Employers are required to provide the student with a minimum of 375 hours (50 days) - 600 hours (80 days) for electrotechnology industry - of paid employment over each 12 month period of the training contract. Over each 3-month period, the student must work an average of 7.5 hours per week as a minimum.

To complete a school-based training contract, a trainee must have completed 50 days of paid employment for each year of the equivalent full-time nominal term. Refer to the Queensland Training Information Service (QTIS) website for school-based trainee completion information specific to each traineeship.


The student and the employer will select a training organisation (known as the supervising registered training organisation) to provide all training and assessment for the SAT. The training organisation will work with the parties to develop a training plan which outlines training needs, how and when the training will take place, who will provide the training, and how the training will be assessed.

The qualification or competencies completed during the SAT are 'contributing studies' to a QCE and will be recorded in the student's learning account. The Queensland Curriculum and Assessment Authority has more details on how a SAT affects the QCE.

Dependent upon the nominal term of the school-based apprenticeship, there is a limit to the amount of off-the-job training that a school-based apprentice may complete while enrolled at school. The ATIS-026 School-based apprenticeships and traineeships information sheet provides further details.

Apprentices and trainees may only access a maximum of 2 government contributions, therefore it is important that students (and their parents/guardians) consider if a SAT is appropriate and relates to the student's future chosen career. Their decision may affect their access to further funding in the future.

Finishing school

Whilst a school-based traineeship may be completed when the student is still an enrolled school student, it is unlikely a school-based apprenticeship could be completed. In signing up to a SAT, the parties agree to convert the training contract to full-time or part-time if the SAT has not been completed when the student leaves school.

Conversion upon completion of Year 12 to full-time is an automatic process carried out by the Department of Employment, Small Business and Training. Those who wish to convert to part-time will be given the opportunity to advise the department before the conversion is complete.

Once a student converts to full-time or part-time arrangements, they will be required to pay student contribution fees to their nominated training organisation. Students should contact their training organisation as soon as possible to determine the costs of fees. Normal award wages and conditions apply and students can seek further information from the Fair Work Ombudsman on 13 13 94.

Last updated 9 October 2020

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