Young Australians can get a head start with their careers by beginning an Australian Apprenticeship while still working towards their senior secondary school certificate. Australian School-based Apprenticeships are a great career option, allowing young Australians to commence training for a vocational qualification and earn a wage while completing their senior secondary certificate.

What is an Australian School-based Apprenticeship?

An Australian School-based Apprenticeship is an Australian Apprenticeship which is undertaken part‑time while the Australian Apprentice is at school. An Australian School-based Apprenticeship arrangement combines paid employment as an apprentice or a trainee, off-the-job vocational training and senior secondary school studies.

An Australian School-based Apprenticeship provides senior secondary school students with hands-on industry experience, and the ability to work towards or complete a nationally recognised qualification, while they complete their senior school certificate.

Download the Australian School-based Apprenticeship fact sheet.

What does an Australian School-based Apprenticeship involve?

An Australian School-based Apprentice undertakes a combination of secondary school subjects, paid work and vocational training undertaken on or off the job. An Australian School-based Apprentice can undertake training in a traditional trade or other occupation at the Certificate I, II, III, IV, Diploma or Advanced Diploma level.

Training delivered by a Registered Training Organisation may be undertaken for a couple of hours every week or for a longer block of time, less frequently. This will depend on the requirements of the Registered Training Organisation and the vocational training course. Australian School-based Apprentices will need to negotiate time-release from their school subjects to attend work and training, arranging to catch up on any school material they miss at a later date.

The number of hours an Australian School-based Apprentice needs to be employed per week differs between states and territories based on their legislation. Some Australian School-based Apprentices can undertake their paid employment outside of school hours, such as on the weekend, however others must take time during school hours to work and this depends on the requirements of the employer.

How long does an Australian School-based Apprenticeship take?

An Australian Apprenticeship can take from one to four years to complete, depending on the type of Australian Apprenticeship, the industry and the qualification undertaken. Some Australian School-based Apprentices will be able to complete their training when they finish their secondary schooling, while others will need to finish their training after they graduate from secondary school. This depends on the qualification undertaken and the speed at which they progress through their training.

Australian School-based Apprentices may be granted (recognition of prior learning) credit for any skills they already have and any prior experience in the workplace, potentially reducing their training time.

How are Australian School-based Apprentices paid?

Australian Apprentices (including Australian School-based Apprentices) are employed under a federal or state award or agreement which sets out their wage and conditions of employment.

How do I find an Australian School-based Apprenticeship?

Preparation

Think about which career path best suits you. Australian Apprenticeships are available in over 500 occupations, so chances are there’ll be one that matches your interests. 

If you are still at school discuss Australian Apprenticeships with your career advisers or teachers.

Investigate your training and career options at:

Write or brush up your résumé. Don’t forget to include:

  • your contact details;
  • your school studies, achievements and work experience; and
  • your interests, skills and career goals.

Action

Visit your Australian Apprenticeship Support Network (Apprenticeship Network) provider who may be able to provide services to help you select the apprenticeship, occupation or training pathway that is most suited to you and provide advice and assistance to help you find an apprenticeship. This could include assessing your suitability for an apprenticeship and referring you to an employer.

Alternatively, you can find an employer willing to take you on as an Australian Apprentice. You can do this by:

  • looking in the job vacancy ads in your local paper or on the web
  • contacting a jobactive organisation in your region
  • contacting employers in the industries you’d like to work in. Go and see them and leave a copy of your résumé
  • contacting a Group Training Organisation.

Once you’ve found an apprenticeship, ask the employer who has agreed to employ you as an apprentice to call their local Apprenticeship Network provider. The Apprenticeship Network provider will work with you and your future employer to identify the right training and support you may need throughout your apprenticeship and through to completion.  They also will help you to sign-up to the training contract and assess your eligibility for Australian Government incentives and a Trade Support Loan.

Can I, or my employer, receive any financial support during my Australian School-based Apprenticeship?

Australian School-based Apprentices undertaking training in a traditional trade may be eligible for a Trade Support Loan where they meet the relevant eligibility criteria.

Employers hiring Australian School-based Apprentices may be eligible to receive incentive payments under the Australian Apprenticeships Incentives Programme.

Both the Australian Apprenticeships Incentives Programme and the Trade Support Loans Programme are subject to eligibility criteria.

To find out more about incentives or loans contact your local Apprenticeship Network provider.

Where can I find out more?

For more information and advice on all aspects of Australian Apprenticeships, contact your local Apprenticeship Network provider or call the Australian Apprenticeships referral line on 13 38 73. Apprenticeship Network providers are contracted by the Australian Government to provide free Australian Apprenticeships support services to apprentices and employers.

Information on apprentice workplace rights and conditions can be found on the Fair Work Ombudsman website or by calling the Fair Work Infoline on 13 13 94

Download the Summary of the Australian Government Incentives under the Australian Apprenticeships Incentives Programme fact sheet.