National Skills Week 2021: Launch Your Career With an Industry Apprenticeship

22 August 2021   |   by Explore Careers

A new week and a new opportunity to keep exploring all the different ways to discover and uncover where your future can take you!

The 23rd-29th of August is National Skills Week – an annual celebration of Australia’s rich vocational education and training (VET) sector and all the ways it can help launch your career.

What is National Skills Week?

Now in its eleventh year, National Skills Week sets out to highlight the talents, skills, career pathways and value of apprentices and trainees across Australia to young people, the wider public and employers.

This week is dedicated to raising the profile and status of vocational learning, focusing on dispelling outdated myths around this incredibly viable pathway for young people and showcase just how varied the career opportunities are!

Vocational Education and Training (VET) has been the foundation of Australia’s economy for decades. It has produced industry leaders, offers great diversity, supports primary industries and tourism, and much more.

If you’ve ever wondered about apprenticeships, traineeships and vocational education, this is the perfect week to get all your questions answered.

This year, the theme for the week is Rethink Your Ideas, and we thought it would be the perfect opportunity to offer an introduction to apprenticeships and help you rethink some of the outdated ideas you might have about them!

What is an Apprenticeship?

Australian Apprenticeships are a fantastic way to earn while you work and keep building up your education and qualifications in your chosen industry. They offer a well-balanced opportunity to explore the workplace and keep building your practical skills.

An apprenticeship:

  • Offers you the opportunity to study and earn an income while undertaking a professional qualification.
  • Can be done by anyone of working age, even if you’re still in school through a School-Based Apprenticeship. And there’s no upper age limit either!
  • Gives you the chance to learn new skills while getting paid in more than 500 different careers and jobs.
  • Can be done full-time, part-time or while you’re at school.

Once completed, you can use your qualification to work anywhere in Australia and around the world.

3 Misconceptions About Australian Apprenticeships

There are many different ideas about apprenticeships, and it’s not unusual for people to think that apprenticeships are the ‘lesser’ route after school, but this simply isn’t true!

Traditionally apprenticeships may have been for people wanting to work in specialised trades, but the opportunities in today’s modern world are vast.

Here are three common misconceptions we’re used to hearing about apprenticeships and why they’re wrong:

Apprenticeships are for people who were less academic in school.

Simply not true, and even if it were, why does it matter? The way our school system is set up doesn’t work for everyone. It doesn’t mean they’re not intelligent or academically minded – they might just need another way to learn and engage with curriculum content.

Apprenticeships are an excellent pathway for these types of learners or anyone keen to get started in the world of work and pursue the career of their dreams!

Apprentices still need to complete assignments, work-based and classroom-based assessments, and their experience in the workplace is usually instrumental in helping them develop the knowledge they need to complete their academic studies.

Apprenticeships only lead to minimum wage jobs.

At the start of their career, apprentices are paid at least the national minimum. In most cases, employers pay more. Apprentices are paid for the time they spend studying for their qualifications, as well as the hours they work.

According to the McCrindle report for Skilling Australia ‘Myths, realities & the critical role of vocational education & training in Australia VET graduate wages often exceed those of university graduates. The average full-time income for university graduates with a bachelor degree is $54,000, compared to a VET graduate at $56,000.

Apprenticeships only work for people in trades.

Traditionally, yes, apprenticeships were predominantly for trades but this is not the case anymore. There is a huge variety of opportunities across a broad selection of industries including commercial cookery, social work, engineering (fabrication), childcare, animal science, digital marketing, computer technology and many more! 

For a full rundown of what you could pursue a career in with an apprenticeship, check out the Australian Apprenticeship Pathways site.

Rethink Your Ideas About Apprenticeships

We’re only just beginning to scratch the surface here on the landscape of Australian apprenticeships, and we hope it’s got you excited to learn more!

National Skills Week has heaps of ways to keep exploring and learning more, including:

  • A FULL week of online events, workshops, and talks to get involved in: Check out the complete list hereand get signed up! (We recommend the 2021 TasTAFE Online Apprenticeship Night).
  • Up to date information on the sector: Apprenticeships could be the key to reigniting our economy following COVID-19 – Read the full media release here to learn more!
  • A tonne of extra resources: Check out the Australian Apprenticeships Pathways explorer page to uncover pathways, work types and all the industries you can dive into.

If you already know the industry you’d like to get involved in, you might also want to check out our industry pages right here! We’ve included entry pathways and qualifications, including whether you can get started through an apprenticeship!

Most of all, we hope you see this as the starting point to keeping ALL of your options open when it comes to deciding your next steps. University is great, but apprenticeships are an equal, exciting springboard into exploring your future career.


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