Access keys and skip links

Close print friendly
Home > Apprentices and trainees > About apprenticeships and traineeships

About apprenticeships and traineeships

Apprenticeships and traineeships combine training with working in a real job, for a real boss, with a real wage. Apprentices and trainees complete 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.

Find out what it's like to be an apprentice or trainee by reading the real life testimonials from apprentices and trainees.

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

Types of apprenticeships and traineeships

Full-time or part-time

Full-time apprentices and trainees work and train full-time, usually from 36 to 38 hours a week. Part-time apprentices and trainees work and train no less than 15 hours per week, averaged over a four week cycle.

Traineeships vary in length from 12 months to three years, while apprenticeships are generally four years in length. The term of a part-time apprenticeship or traineeship is generally double that of the full-time term.

However, as the training is competency-based, completion is dependant upon when the apprentice or trainees has successfully gained all knowledge, skills and competencies required.

More information:

Adult and mature age

Apprenticeships and traineeships aren't just for young people. Commencing an apprenticeship or traineeship is the same for all, no matter what age.

Visit the Getting started as an apprentice or trainee page for further details.

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 may provide you with credit and may reduce your training time. Even if you have never formally studied or trained in a particular area, you may have gained knowledge and skills through your education, training, work and life experience.

Recognition of prior learning (RPL) is the formal recognition of these skills and can be discussed with the training organisation you and your employer decide to use for the apprenticeship or traineeship. Further details on RPL is on the ATIS-010 Credit and recognition of prior learning information sheet.

As a mature aged 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.

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.

Read further information about school-based apprenticeships and traineeships.

Existing workers employed as apprentices and trainees

It may be possible for you to commence an apprenticeship or traineeship with your current employer.

Find out about your eligibility into an apprenticeship or traineeship as an existing worker.

Queensland Government apprenticeships 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.

This page was last updated at 14-July-2015
Home | Glossary | Site map | Contact us | Search