Australian Apprenticeships encompass both apprenticeships and traineeships. Undertaking an Australian Apprenticeship is a way of combining structured training and employment that leads to a nationally recognised qualification. They can be undertaken on a full-time or part-time basis, and are available to school students, school leavers, those re-entering the workforce, or an adult worker simply wishing to change careers or gain new skills.
They offer an opportunity to 'earn while you learn' and gain the practical skills and experience that employers value. Many employers favour people who have completed an apprenticeship or traineeship because of this practical experience.
For employers, apprenticeships and traineeships offer an effective way of ensuring that staff are trained to industry standard. Their involvement in the training ensures that they are trained to meet the needs of the business.
The formal training component of the Australian Apprenticeship can be delivered in a range of ways. It may be conducted on-the-job, off-the-job, or through a combination of both. This component must be managed by a Registered Training Organisation, which will conduct the assessment and issue the qualification.
Not all qualifications are available to be undertaken as an apprenticeship or traineeship. As this is determined by each state and territory government, it can also differ in each jurisdiction. For the most accurate and current information on which qualifications are available, contact your local Australian Apprenticeship Centre, which can be found at australianapprenticeships.gov.au or by calling 13 38 73.
Finding out more: Australian Apprenticeships Centres
Australian Apprenticeships Centres (AACs) are the experts on Australian Apprenticeships and should be your first port of call if you are seeking advice, assistance or a general overview of the Australian Apprenticeships scheme. They are contracted by the Federal Government to provide free advice and operate from other 300 sites across Australia.
Specifically, AACs can assist you with the following:
- providing general advice
- signing of training contracts
- assessing, approving and processing the payments of government incentives
- assisting with contacting other services, such as Group Training Organisations.
You can find your nearest Australian Apprenticeship Centre at australianapprenticeships.gov.au or by calling 13 38 73.
Finding each other: How to start an Australian Apprenticeship
For employers: how to find an apprentice/trainee
There are a number of options for recruiting an Australian Apprentice.
- Recruit through the business’ normal hiring procedures
- Enlist the services of a Group Training Organisation (GTO), who hires Australian Apprentices and then places them with one or more host businesses until the completion of the apprenticeship or traineeship. You can find a GTO at grouptrainingdirectory.com.au.
- Offer an apprenticeship or traineeship to an existing employee. This gives a member of staff that you know and trust the opportunity to learn new skills.
For prospective apprentices/trainees: how to find an employer
Once you have decided which apprenticeship or traineeship you want to do, you will need to find an employer. Options for finding an employer:
- Checking your local newspapers or online job search sites for job vacancies. Vacancies may be advertised under the industry (e.g. Retail, Fitness, Hospitality) or under the heading 'trainee' or 'apprentice'.
- Contact a Group Training Organisation. These organisations employ apprentices and trainees and then place them with one or more employers for the duration of the training. You can find a Group Training organisation at grouptrainingdirectory.com.au.
- Approaching a training provider, who may know of local businesses looking to take on an apprentice/ trainee. You can find a training provider through MySkills—the national training directory at myskills.gov.au.
- Approaching employers that you would like to work for directly. You could contact the employer on the phone, in person, or by writing a formal letter.
Beginning an Australian Apprenticeship
Once a prospective apprentice/trainee and employer have decided to commence an Australian Apprenticeship, the following must be completed:
- a formal Training Agreement or Contract of Training between the employer and apprentice/ trainee
- a training plan.
The Training Contract
A 'Training Agreement' or 'Contract of Training' is a legally binding agreement between the employer and the apprentice/trainee. It protects both the employer’s and employee's interests and outlines each party’s obligations, including the training and supervision that must be provided.
Some of the inclusions the contract will cover:
- the qualification
- how long it will take to complete
- the number of hours in training and employment provided each week
- each party’s obligations to each other
- what to do if you have a problem
- the off-the-job and on-the-job training arrangements.
The National Code of Good Practice for Australian Apprenticeships provides information to assist both parties entering into a Training Contract. You can find it here.
Once completed, the Training Contract will be lodged with an Australian Apprenticeship Centre and approved by the State Training Authority.
The Training Plan
When submitting the Training Contract, it must also be accompanied by a Training Plan. This is developed and maintained by the training provider and completed in close consultation with the employer and apprentice/trainee. Once agreed, it is signed by the employer, the apprentice/trainee, and the training provider. It outlines:
- the units that will be undertaken as part of the qualification
- the chosen training provider
- the location and timing of the training (on-the-job, off-the-job or a mixture of both)
- how the assessments will occur and when the apprentice/trainee is deemed competent.
To help support apprentices or trainees and their employers, a range of financial support is available through the Federal and State or Territory governments.
General information about potential loans, subsidies, support payments and allowances can be found at australianapprenticeships.gov.au.
You can obtain more specific information about the financial support you are eligible for from your local Australian Apprenticeship Centre.
There are a number of Federal and State or Territory incentives currently available to eligible employers of Australian Apprentices. Each incentive payment has a number of eligibility criteria that will be assessed by an Australian Apprenticeship Centre.
General information about available incentives can be found at australianapprenticeships.gov.au.