Apprenticeships

The ultimate introduction to apprenticeships: what they are, how they work and how to get involved.

What is an Apprenticeship?

This is a huge topic, so let’s start be defining exactly what we mean when we talk about Apprenticeships.

An Australian apprenticeship is a learning pathway that combines paid-on-the-job training with formal study.

Apprenticeships are offered across many industries and are a gateway for new and existing workers to gain a formal qualification, while on the job. Construction, building, business, hospitality and fashion are just a few industries that support the apprenticeship learning pathway.

During an Apprenticeship you’ll be supervised by your employer while learning on the job, and using the latest online technologies as well as off the job training.  With this mix of paid work and structured training, you will get the opportunity to put into practice the theory learnt every day, and once successfully completed (depending on your Apprenticeship between two to four years) your qualifications are recognised Australia-wide.

An apprenticeship is just the starting point to launching your career pathway.

Pros and cons for Hiring an Apprentice

  • The government offers some great financial incentives for employers.
  • An Apprentice can be any age, with or without previous experience.
  • Apprentices will have a genuine interest and desire to learn.
  • You are supporting the growth of the industry.
  • Flexible and adaptable delivery methods to suit you.
  • Structured on-the-job training plans to ensure the apprentice is developing relevant real skills which means you are not alone.
  • More qualified staff will give you the opportunity to tender for larger jobs.
  • You need to give time to train and support your Apprentice while on the job.
  • It is a financial commitment, one that needs to be fully considered.

Discover the top three things you need to consider when taking on an Apprentice here.

PROS AND CONS OF DOING AN APPRENTICESHIP

Advantages Disadvantages
Get paid while you learn. Not all industries or careers offer apprenticeships.
Gain real life experience. It is a big commitment, you must take responsibility for what you put into your Apprenticeship (this isn’t a disadvantage – if you’re committed)!
Learn on the job.
Gain a nationally recognised qualification upon completion.
Mentorship from highly qualified trainers, support team and employers.
Flexible and adaptable delivery methods to suit you.

Did you know?

The Australian Apprenticeship system was imported from Britain along with permanent European settlement in 1788. It is also one of the very few employment practices from medieval times, still used today. i

How to start an Apprenticeship

Starting an apprenticeship is a commitment – for both the Apprentice and Employer. Here is a step-by-step guide on how to get started with an Apprenticeship.

1. Know what you want to do

Being confident that the field of study you are about to enter is one you’ll enjoy is half the battle. If you’re not sure yet, here are some great tips to get you started:

  • Consider this…. Are you someone that likes to work outdoors or in an office?
  • Do you think of the details or prefer the big picture?
  • How do you learn best?
  • What job makes you excited?
  • Speak with friends, family and people who work in the industry you’re interested in. Ask them what ‘a day in the life’ of their job is like.
  • Consider doing a pre-apprenticeship course.

If you’re still stuck, referring to the Good Careers Guide or Job Outlook websites are great spots to find more about your career options.

2. Find an employer who will take you on as an Apprentice

For many successful Tradies (and other skills sets) an Apprenticeship is how they got started in their career. So don’t be afraid to start approaching local businesses and asking whether they’re looking to put on an Apprentice.

Make sure to create a resume that includes any work experience you have and skills that would be relevant to the job you are applying for or industry.

There is loads of help out there for job seekers! It’s always great to speak with employment service providers about any opportunities they have on the go that you might be a suitable candidate for.

3. Choose your training organisation

Together with your Employer you will select the right training organisation for your goals.

They will:

  • Help you and your employer develop a training plan that outlines what you need to learn, by when and how it will be delivered
  • Provide a training record where you log your training
  • Deliver training and assess your achievement of skills

Upon successful completion of your Apprenticeship, you will be issued with a qualification.

4. Work with an Australian Apprenticeship Support Network (AASN) provider

Your Employer will need to contact an AASN provider to organise the signing of a training contract. Within 14 days of the Apprenticeship starting, this contract needs to be signed by both Employer and Apprentice. Once the contract is signed it then needs to be given to the AASN provider who will then lodge the training contract.

5. Get Started

You will have, at most, a 90 day probation period to make sure that the arrangement is going to work for both Employer and Apprentice. Once the probation period is up, you will officially be contracted for the length of the Apprenticeship.

Mature Age Apprenticehips

Mature Age Apprenticehips

10% increase in number of Mature Age apprenticeships started between 2006 and 2015i

Higher Female Numbers

Higher Female Numbers

33% of Apprenticeship commencements were female in 2017i

Construction Apprenticeships

Construction Apprenticeships

31% increase in number of Construction Trade Worker Apprenticeships between 2014 – 2018i

Apprenticeship myths debunked

All apprentices are 16 – 17 years old, straight out of school and with no experience.  Myth.

Mature aged apprenticeships are gaining popularity in the industry. With the combination of maturity and experience, these mature age apprenticeships are appealing to Employers.

Apprenticeships are for people who don’t do well at school. Myth.

Apprenticeships are for everyone! They are simply an alternate pathway to university. Unlike university courses, the benefit of an Apprenticeship is that you earn while you learn, in your chosen industry.

A university degree will make you more employable than completing an apprenticeship. Myth.

78% of VET graduates get employed immediately after completing their apprenticeship or traineeship while just 39% of university graduates between 20 and 25 get employed immediately after graduating.i This means that at the end of their training, VET grads are twice as likely to find a job than university grads.

While university students are often expected to take on unpaid internships, there’s a National Skills Shortage in hundreds of different trades. This means that industries and employers are actively looking for carpenters, electricians, mechanics, cooks and hairdressers, while it takes university graduates an average of 4.7 years to find full time work after they graduate.ii

You don’t earn much as an Apprentice. Myth.

It’s about the long game not, short-term reward. You must be paid at least the minimum wage in your award or agreement. How much you earn as a first-year apprentice will depend on your trade and which state you live in. It is well known that qualified tradies are some of the highest earning even over and above university graduates.

Employer Funding Available

As an employer, there are various incentives that you may be eligible for. Contact us to find out more.
Check Funding Eligibility

More on Apprenticeships

Apprenticeship vs. Traineeship

You’ve probably heard about both, but is there a difference?

An Apprenticeship and Traineeship are both, sought after entry-level career pathways that are often used interchangeably.

Both pathways can claim the ‘earn while you learn’ tagline and are great options for anyone wanting to gain real, practical experience while completing a nationally recognised qualification. Each, can be undertaken under part time, full time or a school-based arrangement where some of the training is undertaken while the Apprentice or Trainee is still in high school.

While they are very similar, there is a small difference between the two.

An Apprenticeship typically takes three to four years to complete and traditionally covers trade skills in areas like engineering, building and construction, automotive and metal fabrication.

A Traineeship, on the other hand, covers a broad range of occupations and is delivered in a shorter timeframe (one to two years). You will often come across Traineeships in the Hospitality, Retail, Community Health and Business sectors.

Both are equally valuable choices when it comes to learning practical skills within the industry, it really comes down to what industry and option is right for you.

Did you know?

When students were asked to describe how they felt about VET training, 57% of students used the word “excited” and 51% of students used the word “happy”.VIII

Eligible Courses For Apprenticeships

Helpful Contacts

Department of Education & Training (DET)

Advises and provides information to an Apprentice or Trainee’s enquiries and industrial relations issues. 

Australian Apprenticeship Support Network (AASN)

Australian Apprenticeship Support Network (ASSN) providers are contracted by the Australian Government and have a Deed of Agreement with the Queensland Department of Education and Training to provide targeted services which deliver tailored advice and support to employers, apprentices and trainees.  Also commonly known as the Apprenticeship Network provider, the AASN provider is the first point of contact for the administration of all training contacts.

myApprenticeship self-service website

The myApprenticeship website is the easiest way to manage your apprenticeship or traineeship, allowing you to securely view information and complete a range of tasks relating to your apprenticeship or traineeship.

Please note that this is only for apprentices and trainees who have a current registered training contract or have had one in the past

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