What is an apprenticeship or traineeship?

Are you thinking about a career in a trade such as plumbing, hairdressing, mechanics or carpentry? Well an apprenticeship or traineeship could be a great way to start! An apprenticeship is a training contract between you and an employer. It means you will learn the skills of a particular occupation or trade whilst working. That’s right, you get paid to learn! Apprenticeships can be full-time, part-time or school based, so there is an arrangement that suits your needs. There are over 500 different types of jobs you can do an apprenticeship in, check out Australian Apprenticeships to find out more.

So what’s the difference?

In both an apprenticeship and a traineeship your employer agrees to train and support you for the full period of your training. Both options require you to follow instruction and attend structured, formal or work-based training. If you are an apprentice and your boss sells the business, the new boss has to keep you on as an apprentice, if you are a trainee then they don’t have to keep you on. If you are an apprentice and want to cancel your contract, both you and your boss have to agree to it, but if you are a trainee either one of you can cancel the contract. Have a look at the Apprenticeships and Traineeships on Youth Central’s website for more info.

Why choose an apprenticeship or traineeship?

An apprenticeship is a great way to undertake training and earn money at the same time; you may even receive a nationally recognised qualification (Certificates II, III and IV are recognised all over Australia). You can combine formal training from a TAFE or private training institute with your work-based training, and because you are an employee you have the same rights as any other employee. An apprenticeship or traineeship will also give you lifelong skills. It may give you the opportunity to travel interstate or overseas, increase your job security and career development.

There are lots of different ways to start an apprenticeship or traineeship, you can apply for apprenticeships in the same way you would apply for another job.

How do I get started?

The best place to start is to visit your local Australian Apprenticeship Support Network or call  Apprenticeships Matter on 1800 005 355 for advice.

You can search for apprenticeship and traineeship opportunities in the newspaper or on job search websites. Your own social networks can be very valuable so make sure you let your friends and family know that you are looking for an apprenticeship or traineeship, they might know someone who can help. You can also ask your careers counsellor at school for more information and support.

You can also go through a group training organisation, who employ apprentices and trainees and place them with a host organisation. Check out Group Training Australia for more details. You can also complete an apprenticeship through the Australian Defence Force, and receive a nationally recognised qualification. If you are thinking about this option make sure you understand your obligations joining the defence force first, like the time commitment and other responsibilities you might have as a member of the armed forces. Check out the Defence Jobs site for more info.