Apprentices & trainees

Apprenticeships and traineeships are types of formal training arrangements that combine work with study for a qualification in a trade or occupation.


Traineeships and apprenticeships are arrangements that combine formally recognised training with a registered training organisation (such as a TAFE or trade school), with practical work experience and on the job training.

These arrangements have to be registered with an appropriate state or territory training authority. Timeframes for registering apprentices varies from state to state. The period before the registration date can also count towards the apprenticeship. Please refer to the relevant state and territory training authorities listed below for further information.

Get an overview with the apprenticeships and traineeships video external-icon.png.

The differences between apprenticeships and traineeships

The type of qualification that you want and the industry you want to work in will determine whether you need to complete an apprenticeship or traineeship.


Apprenticeships allow you to study for a trade qualification, for example as a carpenter, chef or hairdresser. It will take approximately 3-4 years to complete an apprenticeship.


Traineeships allow you to study for a certificate level qualification to work in a particular industry or occupation. For example, in office work, childcare or information technology. It will take approximately 1-2 years to complete a traineeship.

There are differences in pay rates between an employee completing a traineeship to attain a certificate and an employee completing a diploma. To find out more, visit the Apprentice and trainee pay rates page.

Who can do apprenticeships and traineeships

Apprenticeships and traineeships can be done on a full-time or part-time basis by anyone who is old enough to work. Check out our Minimum working age page.

You can complete an apprenticeship or traineeship with a new employer or you can talk to your current employer about starting one.

An adult apprentice is someone who starts their apprenticeship when they are 21 years old or older.

An adult trainee definition is generally not based on age. Check your award or registered agreement to see if it includes the definition of an adult trainee. Under some awards, this will depend on the highest level of school you’ve achieved and amount of time out of school.

High school students can also do a school-based apprenticeship or traineeship, which combines work, training and secondary education.

Apprenticeships and traineeships can’t be done on a casual basis.

Pay and entitlements

For information on apprentice and trainee:

You can also download our Record my hours app to quickly and easily record your hours of work.

Ending apprenticeships and traineeships

An apprentice or trainee is usually entitled to notice of termination, unless they're:

  • a trainee whose employment is for a specified period
  • dismissed for serious misconduct, or
  • a trainee who role is made redundant.

When you start your apprenticeship or traineeship you should talk to your employer about whether you’ll continue to work for them once your training is over. If you’re only going to be employed for the time of your apprenticeship or traineeship then you won't get notice of termination when it ends.

It can help to look at an employee’s employment contract to see if they’ve been employed for a set period.

If you want to end your employment before the end of the training you may also need to give your employer notice.

For more information see:

Make sure you also check with your training provider on what else you and your employer need to do when your apprenticeship or traineeship ends.

Where to get more information

For more information on apprenticeships and traineeships you can visit Australian Apprenticeships external-icon.png or call them on 13 38 73.

The relevant state and territory training authorities can also provide assistance.

The Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) also have free online training to help apprentices and trainees develop money management skills. The online training covers topics including saving, budgeting and spending, personal tax and superannuation. Check out ASIC's Be MoneySmart online training centre external-icon.png to complete the training modules.