Apprentices & trainees

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


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.

As well as working with and receiving on the job training from an employer, apprentices and trainees will have to attend a registered training organisation (RTO), such as a TAFE or trade school.

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 qualification to work in a particular industry or occupation, for example office work, childcare or information technology. It will take approximately 1-2 years to complete a traineeship.

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 What age can I start work? 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 or trainee is someone who starts their apprenticeship or traineeship when they are 21 years old or older.

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

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.

An apprentice or trainee gets notice of termination, unless they're:

  • employed for a set period of time or task, or
  • fired for serious misconduct.

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

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

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.

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.