Apprenticeships, Traineeships and Cadetships

What is an apprenticeship?

An apprenticeship is a legal agreement. The apprentice learns how to perform the tasks involved in a trade occupation under the guidance of a qualified tradesperson. The apprentice completes the training nationally recognised training to become qualified.


A trade occupation refers to a highly skilled practical trade occupation, such as:

  • Butcher
  • Carpenter
  • Florist
  • Glazier
  • Hairdresser
  • Light Vehicle Mechanic
  • Pastrycook

Apprentices receive a wage aligned with their level of training and experience.

Apprenticeships can take 3-4 years to complete.

What is a traineeship?

A traineeship is like an apprenticeship. It is a legal agreement. The trainee learns how to perform the tasks in a skilled occupation under the guidance of skilled workers. The trainee completes nationally recognised the training to become qualified.

Traineeships are for skilled non-trade occupations. Traineeships are in many industries. Examples include:

  • Business and administration
  • Hospitality
  • Retail
  • Sport and recreation
  • Warehousing

Trainees receive a wage aligned with their level of training and experience.

Traineeships are usually 12-24 months to complete.

Who Can Get An Apprenticeship or Traineeship?

Over the years Australian apprenticeships have become flexible. In the past apprenticeships were offered to school leavers. Today you can begin an Australian apprenticeship:

  • At school
    • Some employers are willing to offer school-based apprenticeships. You do paid work with the employer for part of the school week. You learn on the job and undertake some of the nationally accredited qualification for the apprenticeship.
    • Some students with a part-time job may be offered the option of doing a traineeship. All paid work and training is done outside of school hours.

    See your school career practitioner if you are interested in a school based apprenticeship or traineeship.

  • When you leave school after compulsory secondary education or after Year 11 or Year 12. Employers have different preferences about the level of school education they want.
  • When you are an adult.

Apprenticeship and Traineeship Schools Guide

Download the The AATIS Schools Guide for tips and support to prepare for and get an apprenticeship or traineeship.

Apprenticeship and Traineeship Websites

There are some outstanding websites that can answer most of your questions about apprenticeships. Some of these are:

Australian Apprenticeship Pathways. The student section includes:

  • Job and training descriptions for Apprenticeships and Traineeships
  • Information about Australian School-based Apprenticeships and pre-apprenticeships
  • Find My Work Type quizzes. These link to apprenticeships and traineeships aligned with your:
    • career interest strengths and
    • work type preferences
  • Industry literacy and numeracy quizzes
  • Videos of apprentices talking about their apprenticeship or traineeship pathway

Australian Apprenticeships

  • Get Government information on support for Australian apprenticeships and traineeships
  • Find your local Australian Apprenticeship Support Network (ASSN) provider. This is your first point of contact for getting started in an apprenticeship
  • Find Group Training Organisations that hire apprentices and trainees in your local area

What is a Cadetship?

Like apprenticeships and traineeships, cadetships involve earning and learning. Cadetships are a partnership between the employer, you as the employee and an education and training provider. Cadets are usually commencing students or currently enrolled in a course that is relevant to the job role. You complete your formal studies while being employed and gaining professional experience. Your program of study is tailored to meet your work requirements and the requirements of your course. A cadetship provides a pathway to permanent employment when the cadetship is finished.

Cadetships are available in a wide range of industries, but are often found in:

  • Public sector employment in Government departments - federal, state/territory and local government
  • Business
  • Finance
  • Accounting
  • Engineering
  • Journalism
  • Transport - airlines and shipping
  • Construction and Infrastructure

Some places where cadetships are advertised include Government jobs websites, job boards such as Seek, Indeed, Careerone and Graduate Opportunities and GradConenction.