​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​About apprenticeships and trai​​neeships - Information for employers

No matter what industry you are in, apprentices and trainees (including school-based) provide real benefits to your business. You provide training to the apprentice or trainee in your way of doing the job. This increases efficiency and productivity in your business, helping to foster growth while maintaining and preserving the quality of skills in your industry and giving you a competitive edge by having trained a skilled team.​

You and your apprentice or trainee will sign a training contract, which is a legally binding agreement that you and your apprentice or trainee will work together to achieve the apprenticeship or traineeship within the specified period.

Benefits of employing an ap​prentice or trainee

An effective way to attract and recruit staff
Some employers view apprenticeships and traineeships as an integral component of their workforce recruitment strategy. Employers train the person within their work environment in areas where skills are required.

A catalyst for rethinking systems and processes
Employers have reported that training an apprentice or trainee often encourages staff to rethink and challenge existing work practices. Productivity improvements can be an unexpected outcome of employing an apprentice or trainee.

Contributing to their community
School-based apprenticeships or traineeships can make a real difference in motivating young people to complete school and work towards their future career goal.

Employer satisfaction
Employers and supervisors often experience a great deal of satisfaction during the process as they help apprentices and trainees mould new skills and gain confidence in a work environment.

What's the differen​​​ce between an apprentice and a trainee?

Apprentices are trained in a skilled trade (e.g. electrical, plumbing or automotive) and, upon completion, become a qualified tradesperson. Apprenticeships generally take up to four years to complete.

Trainees are trained in vocational areas (e.g. office administration, information technology or tourism) and, upon completion, will receive a qualification in their chosen vocational area. Traineeships generally take between 12 months and three years to complete.​

Types of apprenticeships ​​and traineeships

Full-time or p​art-time

  • ​Full-time apprentices and trainees work and train an average of 38 hours per 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 term.

Adult and mature age

Commencing an apprenticeship or traineeship is the same for all, no matter what age. Older apprentices and trainees provide maturity, reliability, life experience and knowledge that can be valuable not only to employers, but to other staff.

An adult apprentice or trainee's existing skills and experience (gained through education, training, work and life experiences) may provide them with credit and may reduce their training time.

Employing a mature age worker may attract specific incentives through the Australian Government.


  • 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 the full-time apprenticeship or traineeship.​

Read further information about school-based apprenticeships and traineeships​.

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Last updated
29 September 2017