National apprentice campaign

In May 2015 we kicked off a campaign focusing on first year apprentices and their employers who work in the following industries:

  • manufacturing
  • vehicle
  • electrical service
  • retail butchers
  • pastry chefs
  • hairdressers.

The campaign aims to help employers and first year apprentices in these industries better understand their rights and obligations at work.

Why apprentices?

Many apprentices are young workers who can be more vulnerable to exploitation and less aware of their workplace rights.

Between 2013 to 2014 we received a high rate of complaints from apprentices. We’re now focusing on the industries where complaints have been the highest.

What are we doing about it?

During the campaign we’re educating first year apprentices and their employers about:

  • record-keeping and pay slips
  • pay rates, including penalty rates and allowances.

We’ll be getting in touch with employers to check their time and wage records against pay slip and record-keeping requirements.

Employers will also be educated on: 

  • payment for time spent in off-the-job training
  • competency based progression
  • reimbursement for course fees.

Apprenticeships – what you need to know

Pay increases during an apprenticeship

There are 2 ways an apprentice can move to the next pay level of an apprenticeship:

  • time-based – the apprentice moves to the next pay level after they’ve worked a certain amount of time (eg. 12 months).
  • competency-based – the apprentice moves to the next pay level when they’ve achieved a set amount of the total skill or training requirements of the apprenticeship (which might be earlier than 12 months).

Which one applies depends on the award that covers them. Go to our Apprentice entitlements page and select your award for more information.

Training fees and reimbursement

Apprentices have to be reimbursed for a number of training costs, such as training or their prescribed textbooks.

However, employers don’t need to reimburse apprentices for training costs if:

  • an apprentice's progress is unsatisfactory
  • the employer pays the costs and fees directly to the training organisation
  • any part of the fees are reimbursed by the government.

Visit our Apprentice entitlements page to find out more information about training costs and reimbursements in your industry.

Pay and record keeping

What an apprentice is paid depends on a number of things, such as:

  • how far into the apprenticeship they are
  • any overtime work they've done
  • what allowances they're entitled to.

Use our Pay Calculator to find pay rates for an apprentice in your industry.  

Pay slips need to be provided to apprentices within 1 working day of pay day - even if the apprentice is on leave.

Pay slips can be given either electronically (ie. via email) or in hard copy.

Certain information needs to be put on a pay slip, including the pay period, the amount (both gross and net) and any penalty rates that apply.

Visit our Pay slips page for more information on what has to be on a pay slip, and download our Pay slip template (DOC 53.5KB).

Where to get more information

Our Apprentice entitlements page provides more information about apprenticeships and gives you industry-specific information on:

  • award coverage
  • school-based apprentices
  • off the job training
  • time spent travelling to training
  • training costs
  • allowances in your industry.

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

The relevant state and territory training authorities can also help you.

ACT - Education and Training Directorate external-icon.png on (02) 6205 8555

NSW - Australian Apprenticeships and Traineeships Centre external-icon.png on 13 28 11

NT - Apprenticeships and Traineeships - Department of Business external-icon.png on (08) 8901 1357

QLD - Apprenticeships Info external-icon.png on 1800 210 210

SA - Apprenticeships and Traineeships external-icon.png on 1800 673 097

TAS - Skills Tasmania external-icon.png on 1800 655 846

VIC - Further Education and Training Victoria external-icon.png on (03) 9651 9999

WA - Training WA external-icon.png on 13 19 54

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