Apprenticeship and Traineeship Programs


Apprenticeships and traineeships combine training with working in a real job, with a real boss, for a real wage. Apprentices and trainees work towards the completion of 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.

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

  • Apprenticeships and traineeships combine work with structured training.
  • Apprenticeships and traineeships can be full-time, part-time, or school-based - where some of the training is undertaken while the apprentice or trainee is in high school.
  • Existing employees may undertake an apprenticeship or traineeship.
  • Apprenticeships and traineeships require employers to enter into a training contract with the apprentice or trainee, which is a legally binding agreement to work and train together for a length of time.
  • Employers work with a training organisation and the apprentice or trainee to draw up a training plan.
  • Training options must be negotiated and outlined in the training plan. Aspects of training that are open to negotiation (subject to training package requirements) include: selection, content and sequencing or competency units, timing, location and mode of delivery, and the trainer or facilitator.

Types of apprenticeships and traineeships

Full-time or part-time

  • Full-time apprentices and trainees work and train an average of 38 hours a 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.

Adult and mature age

Commencing an apprenticeship or traineeship is the same for all, no matter what age. 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 (gained from education, training, work and life experiences) may provide you with credit and may reduce your training time. Recognition of prior learning (RPL) is the formal recognition of these skills and can be discussed with the training organisation. 

As a mature age apprentice or trainee, you may earn different wages compared to a young apprentice or trainee. 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 (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 a full-time apprenticeship or traineeship.
Read further information about school-based apprenticeships and traineeships .

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.

Can I start an apprenticeship or traineeship if I am still at school?

Yes you can. School-based apprenticeships and traineeships (SATs) are available in many occupations in Queensland. Students should be in either year 10, 11 or 12, but may be able to enter a SAT prior to starting year 10 in exceptional circumstances. In these circumstances, a business case must be submitted to the Department of Education and Training (DET) and approved prior to commencing the SAT.

The SAT is undertaken as part of the high school studies. A SAT employment and/or training arrangement must impact on the school timetable for the program to be considered school-based. Apprenticeships or traineeships which do not have an impact on the student's school timetable are not considered a SAT. 

All SATs must be supported by the employer, the school, a supervising registered training organisation (SRTO) referred to as the training organisation, and the parent or guardian. SATs are paid for the time spent working with their employer.

SATs receive funding for their training aligned to the priority level of the qualification.

SATs are exempt from paying student fees under the User Choice program while they are still at school.

Parties to the training contract for a SAT should be aware that there are a number of conditions that apply to the training contract, including the amount of training that a SAT can do while they are still attending school. There are also conditions related to the transition of a SAT into full-time or part-time apprenticeship/traineeship arrangements once school has been completed.

Visit the Apprenticeships Info website for more information on school-based apprenticeships and traineeships.

Am I eligible for a funded place in the User Choice Program?

To be eligible for a government contribution towards the costs of training, an apprentice or trainee must have entered into a training contract for a qualification that is funded by DET and be registered in DET's registration system DELTA. The contract commencement date or recommencement date must be on or after 1 July 2010, and the training provider selected to deliver the training must hold a pre-qualified supplier status for the nominated qualification.

The government contribution for a User Choice funding contribution is detailed in the apprentice or trainee's letter of registration from DET, and is subject to student eligibility and their selection of an eligible PQS as their SRTO.

Are there any rules I should be aware of in relation to funding?

Apprentices and trainees can only receive one government contribution for a User Choice funded qualification at any single point in time, i.e. a student is not funded to undertake two apprenticeships or traineeships at the same time.

In addition, apprentices and trainees, including SATs, can only receive a maximum of two government funding contributions under the current User Choice Program.

There are other rules specifically related to funding for SATs, so students and their parents/guardians should discuss their intentions with their school's vocational education and training coordinator prior to signing up as a SAT. Australian Apprenticeship Support Network providers are another good source of information.

Will I be expected to pay fees and charges to my RTO?

Usually, students are required to pay a co-contribution fee. In some cases though, an RTO may provide either a partial or full exemption for a student in respect to the co-contribution fee. SATs are not required to pay a co-contribution fee while they are still at school, but may (visit the Fee-free training for Year 12 graduates section of DET's website) be required to pay fees once their training contract has been converted to full-time or part-time post school. MBC provides details on the co-contribution fees payable on our website and during suitability interviews and in our induction checklists and training plans. Information on our refund policy is available in our Candidate Handbook (available from the Public Notices drop down menu on our site).

Exemptions for Fees and Charges

A full 100% exemption applies to co-contribution fees payable in the following circumstances:

  • School-based apprentice/trainee.
  • Payment would cause the apprentice/trainee extreme financial hardship.
  • Undertaking a Skilling Queenslanders for Work - Work Skills Traineeship.
  • An apprentice/trainee commences an apprenticeship/traineeship in a high priority qualification within 12 months of graduating Year 12.
  • A school-based apprentice/trainee who has graduated Year 12 and has converted to either a full-time or part-time apprenticeship/traineeship within a high priority qualification.
  • Credit transfer is given for unit/s previously achieved.
  • Gap training and assessment is provided as required by Avetmiss outcome '65' as the result of a training package product being superseded.

A 60% concession may apply to student co-contribution fees if a student falls into one or more of the following exemption categories: 

  • Where the apprentice/trainee will be aged under 17 at the end of February in the year in which we provide training, and the apprentice/trainee has not completed Year 12. 
  • The apprentice/trainee holds a Health Care Card or Pensioner Concession Card issued under Commonwealth law, or is the partner or a dependent of a person who holds a Health Care Card or Pensioner Concession Card and is named on that card.
  • The apprentice/trainee holds an official form under Commonwealth Law stating the apprentice/trainee, his or her partner or the person of whom the apprentice/trainee is a dependent, is entitled to concessions under a Health Care Card or Pensioner Concession Card.
  • The apprentice/trainee is an Aboriginal or Torres Straight Islander person, through self-declaration on an Avetmiss compliant enrolment form.

Related information

More information

Visit the User Choice section of DET's website for more information or contact us for more information about the courses that MBC offers via a traineeship arrangement.

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