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Skills Tasmania

What is an apprenticeship or traineeship?

Apprenticeships and traineeships are a learning pathway that combines paid on-the-job training and formal learning with a Registered Training Organisation. An apprentice or trainee has the opportunity to combine employment with training, working toward a nationally recognised qualification, whilst also earning money.

You can undertake an apprenticeship or traineeship as a school leaver, if you’re re-entering the workforce and if you are an adult simply looking at a career change. You can even begin an apprenticeship or traineeship in secondary school under a School-based Apprenticeship arrangement.

The apprenticeship or traineeship is established when you and your employer agree to and sign a national training contract.

Apprenticeships and traineeships offer a great way to get a head start in a chosen career through paid work and structured training that can be on-the-job, off-the-job or a combination of both. Existing skills and prior experience are recognised and course credit granted, potentially reducing formal training time.

1Types of apprenticeships and traineeships

Apprenticeships and traineeships can be undertaken on a full-time basis, or part-time basis, depending on the type of employment you are in - your employment arrangement determines which type of training contract you enter into for your apprenticeship or traineeship.

Each type of training contract has slightly different requirements you need to meet – these will be explained to you when you set up the apprenticeship or traineeship.

School-based apprenticeships/traineeships are a type of part-time training contract, designed to allow young people to commence employment based training while completing year 10, 11 and 12 of their education.

The Approved apprenticeships/traineeships in Tasmania list details which courses are approved to be delivered in Tasmania for each type of apprenticeship and traineeship.

To search for apprenticeships and traineeships that cater to particular industries or occupation types, visit the Australian Apprenticeships Pathways website.

2Is there a difference between an apprenticeship and a traineeship?

Generally speaking, courses in traditional vocational training areas, such as carpentry, construction or hairdressing, are apprenticeships, and those in non-traditional areas are traineeships – good examples are aged care and retail.

Both are nationally recognised training, and both form part of the Australian Qualifications Framework. A traineeship is essentially just a more recent offering that came about when vocational education and training expanded to be broader than traditional vocational training areas.

In both cases, what you are required to learn is detailed in a training package, which is endorsed by the relevant industry.

If you are really keen to tell the difference, the nominal duration of the qualification is a good indicator - Apprenticeships generally have a full-time nominal duration of up to four years, whilst most traineeships are 12‑24 months. Nominal duration of each qualification is also listed in the Approved apprenticeships/traineeships in Tasmania list.

3Do I need to know whether my course is an apprenticeship or a traineeship?

Not really. In Tasmania, we treat apprenticeships and traineeships the same, with the same conditions, requirements for entry, and funding programs available for both.

In some cases, employment conditions might differ depending on whether you are an apprentice or a trainee. This is covered by the award or employment arrangement, so your employer will work this out and make sure you are paid appropriately. Also, some Australian Government incentives available to your employer may be restricted to apprenticeships only, but this will be clear from the list of qualifications those incentive programs cover, and the person that signs you up to your training contract will explain all of this to you and your employer, so you still won’t need to know which your course is.

If you have any queries, you can contact your Australian Apprenticeship Network Provider or a Skills Tasmania Workforce Training Consultant but unless you really want to know, you can just leave this part with us and focus on your training.

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