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Apprenticeships & Traineeships: A Definitive FAQ

05 November 2021   |   by Explore Careers

There’s a lot of information out there about what your next steps after school could be, and it seems to us that a lot of it is geared towards university and degree pathways.

Don’t get us wrong – we love university! And getting a degree is never going to be a bad thing to do, but it’s only one way to get into the career of your dreams.

So we’ve put together our definitive Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) on one of the other major pathways you might choose: apprenticeships and traineeships.

Compiled from what young people continually ask us about this viable option, let’s dive in!

How do Apprenticeships and Traineeships Work?

Apprenticeships and traineeships combine training with working in your chosen industry.

You’ll split your time between studying in a classroom and working on-site as an employee. This allows you to put all your classroom knowledge directly into action. Many apprenticeship and traineeship assessments are also conducted in the workplace.

Apprentices and trainees work towards completing a nationally recognised qualification relevant to their chosen industry while learning valuable skills at work under the guidance of a training organisation. This might be a TAFE, or another registered training organisation (RTO) approved to deliver and assess industry qualifications for apprenticeships.

There’s no cost to you, as your qualification fees are covered by your employer and/or local government.

What is the Difference Between an Apprenticeship and a Traineeship?

Three of the critical differences between apprenticeships and traineeships are:

  • How long they take to complete.
  • How much you earn.
  • The level you study at.

Apprenticeships typically last 3-4 years, whereas traineeships last 1-2 years.

Apprenticeship wages are determined by the industry and the level you study at. Your wage typically increases the more qualified you become.

Traineeship wages are a set rate across all industries, established by the National Training Wage.

Traineeship qualifications start at certificate I, whereas apprenticeships typically start at certificate III level.

Can I Start an Apprenticeship or Traineeship While at School?

Absolutely! And this is a really popular way to get started.

Australian School-based Apprenticeships (ASbA), also known as school-based apprenticeships and traineeships, are like any other apprenticeship or traineeship but they’re commenced part-time as part of your secondary schooling. You can usually commence a school-based apprenticeship from year nine.

You’ll earn a wage, work with an employer, and gain an accredited qualification alongside completing your high school certificate. Once you finish school, you can enter the workforce or continue with your studies through a higher-level apprenticeship.

What Type of Apprenticeships and Traineeships Can You Do?

Apprenticeships and traineeships are well-established across 50 industries in Australia.

Most people know about the traditional pathways, such as carpentry, plumbing, automotive mechanics and electrician roles. But there are thousands of other jobs in a variety of industries that you can do an Australian apprenticeship or traineeship in.

Here are just a few of the industries for grabs:

  • Animal care and management.
  • Business Services
  • Community Services
  • Creative arts and culture
  • Financial services
  • Floristry
  • Hospitality and tourism
  • Sports, fitness and recreation
  • Training and education
  • Transport and logistics

You can find out more about all the different roles available in each industry through the Job Pathway Charts put together by the Australian Apprenticeships Pathways website.

What is the Best Apprenticeship or Traineeship to Do?

This really comes down to you, your interests, passions and where you see yourself building your future career!

Deciding on your next steps and what you’d like to get qualified in is a really personal decision but there are lots of questions to ask and things to consider to help you make that decision.

When considering an apprenticeship, it’s worth thinking about:

  • Your progression opportunities throughout your training and once you qualify.
  • The demands of your qualification, average study hours per week, and support available.
  • How you will be assessed.
  • Where you’ll work and if it’s a good fit for you. (Some apprenticeships and traineeships are available directly through employers, others you may go through the training provider.)
  • What other apprentices and trainees have to say about their experience.

Is it Better to Go to University or Do an Apprenticeship?

This is another highly personal decision, but it’s worth knowing the two aren’t mutually exclusive.

There’s no reason you can’t complete an apprenticeship to get your foot on the ladder and decide down the line that you want to gain a degree now you know you’ve found the industry you’re passionate about and what to learn more.

Spend time thinking about your overall career goals and what you want to achieve in life, alongside what’s important to you at this moment in your life and the future. Weigh these things up against the pros and cons of university and apprenticeships.

How Can I Find Out More About Apprenticeships in My State?

Each state and territory across Australia has slightly different guidelines, regulations, requirements and recognition for apprenticeships and traineeships.

You can find out more information about your state and apprenticeship/traineeship pathways through the following:

Next Steps

We hope that’s answered some of your most pressing questions, but if there’s anything we’ve missed or you’ve got a question you want help with about apprenticeships and traineeships – we’re all ears!

Drop us a comment below or get in touch via our website and let us know! We’re here to help you make the best decisions for your future.


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