​​​​​​​​​​​About apprenticeships and traineeships

Apprenticeships and traineeships combine training with working in a real job, with a real boss, for a real wage. Apprentices and trainees work towards the completion of a nationally recognised qualification while learning valuable skills at work and under the guidance of a training organisation. Upon completion, you may find yourself in a great place to keep working, go on to future study or even start your own business.

​Difference between an​​ apprentice and a trainee

Apprentices are trained in a skilled trade, such as electrical, plumbing, cabinet-making and automotive. Upon completion, apprentices become a qualified tradesperson.

Trainees are trained in vocational areas, such as office administration, information technology and tourism. Upon successful completion, a trainee will receive a qualification in their chosen vocational area.

Quick facts about ​apprenticeships and traineeships

  • Apprenticeships and traineeships combine work with structured training.
  • Apprenticeships and traineeships can be full-time, part-time, or school-based - where some of the training is undertaken while the apprentice or trainee is in high school.
  • Existing employees may undertake an apprenticeship or traineeship.
  • Apprenticeships and traineeships require employers to enter into a training contract with the apprentice or trainee, which is a legally binding agreement to work and train together for a length of time.
  • Employers work with a training organisation and the apprentice or trainee to draw up a training plan.
  • Training options must be negotiated and outlined in the training plan. Aspects of training that are open to negotiation (subject to training package requirements) include: selection, content and sequencing or competency units, timing, location and mode of delivery, and the trainer or facilitator.

Types of apprentic​​eships and traineeships

Full-time or pa​​rt-time

  • Full-time apprentices and trainees work and train an average of 38 hours a week and have ongoing employment.
  • Part-time apprentices and trainees are rostered to work on a regular basis, working and training no less than 15 hours per week, averaged over a four week cycle.
  • Existing workers may be employed as an apprentice or trainee (as long as they are not casual).
  • The term of a part-time apprenticeship or traineeship is generally double that of the full-time apprenticeship or traineeship.​

​Adult and mature age

Commencing an apprenticeship or traineeship is the same for all, no matter what age. As an older apprentice or trainee, you provide maturity, reliability, life experience and knowledge, not only to an employer but to other staff.

​Furthermore, your existing skills and experience (gained from education, training, work and life experiences) may provide you with credit and may reduce your training time. Recognition of prior learning (RPL) is the formal recognition of these skills and can be discussed with the training organisation. 

As a mature age apprentice or trainee, you may earn different wages compared to a young apprentice or trainees. Phone the Fair Work Ombudsman on 13 13 94 to discuss wages.


  • ​School-based apprentices and trainees undertake an apprenticeship or traineeship as part of their high school studies (generally in years 10, 11 and 12).
  • A school-based apprentice or trainee's employment and/or training arrangements must impact on their school timetable for the program to be considered school-based.
  • The term of a school-based apprenticeship or traineeship is generally double that of a full-time apprenticeship or traineeship.​
Read further information about school-based apprenticeships and traineeships​.

​Queensland Government a​​​pprenticeships and traineeships

The Queensland Government offers full-time traineeships and school-based apprenticeships and traineeships each year in government agencies, including state government departments, local councils, statutory authorities, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Community Councils and not-for-profit community organisations.

For more information on applying for one of these positions, search the vacancies directly through the Queensland Government's Smart Jobs and Careers website.

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Last updated
27 February 2018