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Difference Between Apprenticeships And Traineeships​​

    Apprenticeship or Traineeship is the first step to begin your career or get into a specific trade.

    Apprenticeship Installing Electrical MCB


    Apprenticeship is associated with skilled technical trades such as cooking, automobile, plumbing, electrical, carpentry, or engineering. An apprenticeship typically takes four years to complete full-time. Apprenticeships also help you earn money while learning.

    The following are the key advantages of apprentice training:

    • Earning money while training
    • Obtaining a qualification through both on-the-job and off-the-job training
    • Learning valuable skills


    Traineeship relates to non-trade certificate qualifications for example business, IT, tourism, retail, hospitality, and much more. A Traineeship generally lasts between 12 months to 2 years.

    Eligibility criteria

    To work as an apprentice or trainee in Queensland, you must fulfil the following fundamental requirements:

    • Minimum age (Some apprenticeships and traineeships require a minimum age of 18 years)
    • Workers who are neither Australian/New Zealand citizens nor residents must obtain a visa.  

    Age requirements

    In most occupations, people who are 13 years old or older may be eligible for an apprenticeship or traineeship.

    Apprenticeships or traineeships usually have a higher entry age in their law formulation, but in Queensland for example, anyone older than 13 is eligible to undergo an apprenticeship or traineeship.

    You can visit the Queensland Information Training Service (QTIS) website for further information regarding eligibility requirements under Queensland legislation.

    Where the apprentice or trainee is under the age of 18 on the date of signing the training contract, a parent or guardian’s signed approval is required Under Queensland law, each employer can decide to set their age limit for apprentices or trainees.

    Let’s go through some of the common queries a student may have about apprenticeship and traineeship:

    What is the difference between an apprenticeship and a traineeship? 

    Apprenticeship or Traineeship is usually the first step to beginning your career or getting into a specific trade. Apprentices study to get into skilled technical trades, for example, cooking, automotive, plumbing, electrical, carpentry, or engineering. On the other hand, the trainee studies to work in different industries or occupations which are usually not related to trades for example business, IT, tourism, retail, hospitality, and much more.

    The main advantage of an apprenticeship is that it provides both on-the-job and in-class training. The apprentices gain hands-on skills, valuable knowledge, and employability skills. Traineeship programs usually do not incorporate studies but only provide hands-on skills, work experience and employment prospects.

    Can a casual employee or a sub-contractor start an apprenticeship or traineeship? 

    This is not possible when you are a sub-contractor or casual employee, you cannot enrol or signup as an Apprentice or Trainee. The business needs to fulfil tax and PAYG obligations for casual employees or sub-contractors which is why they cannot be enrolled as apprentices or trainees. 

    How long will it take to complete an apprenticeship or traineeship program?  

    The apprenticeship program is competency-based. It is specially structured to cover all aspects of the trade. It can be finished in three to five years if you work full-time; however, this time frame depends on how quickly an apprentice can finish the necessary coursework and be approved for practical on-the-job training. 

    Apprenticeships can be undertaken for qualifications from Cert III to Advanced Diploma.

    A traineeship will usually take between 1 to 2 years full-time depending on the type of traineeship. Traineeships are generally available for qualifications from Cert II to Advanced Diploma. RPL, on-the-job learning and work experience can contribute to competency and completion of the qualification. The duration allows sufficient time for trainees to apply their learnings in real-world situations.

    What qualification should my apprentice or trainee enrol on? 

    The selection of qualifications depends on the requirements of your business, the qualifications usually required in your industry, and the skills your apprentice or trainee already has. To select the best option based on your needs, The Apprenticeship can guide you after considering the information you give them. You can find helpful online resources on to help you choose the qualification most suitable for you. The following points should be kept in mind while selecting a trade/occupation:

    1. Research trades and see what you like best.
    2. Check out the market demand for a particular occupation.
    3. Monitor industry trends in your location.
    4. See which trades offer wider career options.
    5. Test out a trade with pre-apprenticeship courses like Certificate II.
    6. Choose your RTO and make sure you check their reviews.
    7. Try to find your niche.

    What is the ongoing pay rate for an apprentice or trainee? 

    Depending upon the industry, type of qualification and the award your business employs staff under, the pay rates vary for apprentices and trainees. Several factors are to be considered when calculating the pay rate for your apprentice or trainee. 

    Refer to or call 13 13 94 for pay rates. You can use the ‘Pay Calculator’ tool to have a better idea of what the rates are. Rates will vary based on the industry, the type of qualification the person is enrolled on, and the award used by the business for other employees. 

    Are there any subsidies available? 

    Employers of apprentices are eligible for financial incentives which include subsidies. New Incentives for Australian Apprenticeships Programs are due to be implemented on 1 October 2021. Subsidies are available through State Governments, and the Australian Government is subject to eligibility. The apprenticeship community can guide you with further information and help with subsidy claims for your business.

    How do I choose a training provider? 

    The apprenticeship community can assist by providing a list of suitable Registered Training Organizations for you and your apprentice or trainee to choose from. The community has provided excellent support and many current apprentices or people who have completed their training would be happy to help. The training provider will develop the training plan, provide the formal training, and will assess your apprentice for the length of the apprenticeship. These courses are offered either on a fee-for-service basis or are government-funded under the User Choice program. Make sure you consider the following when selecting a training provider:

    • Does the training organisation require anything from the business for the study component of the apprenticeship?
    • How are study sessions organised? Are they flexible to work around the businesses’ needs?
    • How will the assessments be conducted?
    • What are the other services that the RTO might provide?
    • Is the course funded? What will I have to pay if it is not? 

    The Apprenticeship Community can put you in touch with appropriate RTOs to discuss more details and specific costs.

    Can I amend or cancel the training contract? 

    The apprenticeship community can assist you if you want to amend or cancel the apprentice’s or trainee’s contract information. There may be many reasons for amendments like updating the name, changing dates and qualifications, transferring to another employer, giving an extension, suspending, or canceling the contract.

    What happens after completion of the apprenticeship? 

    When all required competencies are completed, you will need to contact your training provider so that the employer, the apprentice/trainee, and the training provider can sign a completion agreement, stating that all training and assessment required under the training plan have been completed. The training provider then submits the signed agreement to the Department of Employment, Small Business and Training so they can issue the certificate of completion. 

    You’ll have the skills, experience, and qualifications you need to advance your career or further your studies once your apprenticeship or traineeship is over. 

    If you are interested in doing an apprenticeship and gaining certifications through hands-on experience, you can contact us and speak to a Counselor.

    Contact Details: Call 0421 677 541 or email

    Last reviewed date: 29/12/2023

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