Becoming an Australian Apprentice

Becoming an Australian Apprentice

Australian Apprenticeships include apprenticeships and traineeships and combine time at work with off-the-job training and can be full-time, part-time or school-based.

Australian Apprenticeships lead to a nationally recognised qualification and provide Australian Apprentices with the necessary job experience to pursue the career they want.

Australian Apprenticeships are available in over 500 occupations in an increasing range of industries. Some Australian Apprenticeships can be started and even completed while still at school, and some can form part of a student’s Year 12 Certificate.

For more information about Australian School-based Apprenticeships refer to the Australian Apprenticeships website.

Australian Apprenticeships are ‘competency based’ which means training can be completed as soon as the required skill level in the qualification is reached. Australian Apprenticeships include traditional trades such as automotive, hairdressing and plumbing, as well as those in newer industries such as information technology, communications and early childhood education and care. The job prospects for qualified people are vast, and the demand for skilled workers continues to increase.

Why choose vocational education and training?

Vocational education and training (VET) enables people to obtain the knowledge and skills for work in a variety of careers through nationally recognised training packages or accredited courses. VET is delivered, assessed and certified by registered training organisations (RTOs). The Canberra Institute of Technology is the only public RTO and there are also many privately operated RTOs that offer VET in the ACT.

VET training packages and accredited courses include practical learning for a variety of career pathways including trades (such as automotive and plumbing), business administration, creative arts, community services or sport and recreation.

VET can offer a time and cost effective qualification to assist you in entering or re-entering the workforce. VET graduates enter the workforce with first-hand experience as courses are based on workplace specific skills.

VET qualifications include Australian Apprenticeships and traineeships that can generally take 2 years of study, through to courses that can be completed in a shorter time frame.

Benefits of undertaking and Australian Apprenticeship

An Australian Apprenticeship is a great way to get a head start in your chosen career. Some of the benefits include:

  • paid work and structured training that can be on-the- job, off-the-job or a combination of both
  • ‘competency based’ training which means you can complete your course faster if you reach the required skill level
  • course credit can be granted for existing skills and prior experience, potentially reducing the length of formal training
  • opportunities for full-time or part-time training and work
  • a pathway to nationally recognised qualifications and skills
  • a basis for further education and training over the course of your working life
  • a pathway from school to work.

Costs of undertaking an Australian Apprenticeship

Registered training organisations (RTOs) are required to charge participants a fee for administration costs upon enrolment in an Australian Apprenticeship.

RTOs set their own fees for Australian Apprenticeships training, but Skills Canberra requires a minimum fee of $350 to be charged.

Quest Training Course fee for trainees is $350


To be eligible for an ACT training contract, you must:

  • work in the ACT, and
  • be at least 15 years of age, and
  • be an Australian citizen, permanent resident, or New Zealand passport holder resident for more than 6 months, or
  • an eligible visa holder, and
  • receive remuneration for your work, and
  • complete a minimum of 15 hours combined work and training per week, and
  • undertake an approved Australian Apprenticeships qualification with an approved registered training organisation, as listed on the ACT Qualifications Register, and
  • have the required supervision in the workplace for an Australian Apprentice.

In addition to the above, to be eligible for an ACT training contract an Australian School-based Apprentice must:

  • be enrolled in a school under legislation that covers education in the relevant state/territory
  • combine part time work with an employer and structured industry-approved training whilst attending school
  • continue employment and on/off-the-job training throughout the year including school holidays.

If you are not eligible for an ACT training contract or are seeking a different training pathway refer to the Skilled Capital page.

6 steps to becoming an Australian Apprentice

Step 1 – Find an employer

Find an employer that is willing to take you on as an Australian Apprentice or trainee.

You can do this by:

  • looking in the job vacancy advertisements in your local paper or on the internet
  • contacting employers in the industries you would like to work in
  • registering with the Apprenticeship Network Provider jobs board
  • contacting a group training organisation
  • contacting a Jobactive provider if you are classified as a job seeker or talking to your career advisor if you are still at school.

If you’re still at school you can also consider an Australian School-based Apprenticeship, where you start your Australian Apprenticeship while at school. And don’t forget Australian Apprenticeships are available for existing workers and workers of all ages. You don’t have to have just finished school.

Jobactive is the Australian Government’s way to get more Australians into work. It connects job seekers with employers and is delivered by a network of Jobactive providers in the ACT. Refer to the Jobactive website for further information.

Step 2 – Choose an Apprenticeship Network provider

Apprenticeship Network providers (ANPs) are non-government organisations contracted by the Australian Government to help employers and Australian Apprentices to enter into a training contract.

As at 1 February 2020 there is only one ANP servicing the ACT:

Step 3 – Sign your Australian Apprenticeship training contract

You must sign into an Australian Apprenticeship training contract within 28 days of starting your employment.

The training contract is a legally binding document that is agreed to by an Australian Apprentice and their employer. The training contract combines paid work with structured training aimed at achieving a nationally recognised qualification.

Your ANP can explain the Australian Apprenticeship system, guide you through support options available to you and facilitate the signing of the training contract.

Step 4 – Meet with your registered training organisation

Meet with your registered training organisation (RTO) to:

  • obtain a unique student identifier (USI)
  • complete a language, literacy and numeracy (LLN) assessment
  • discuss any recognition of prior learning (RPL)
  • enrol in your qualification and discuss a training plan.

The USI provides students with the ability to obtain a complete record of their vocational education and training enrolments and achievements from a single source. Training organisations cannot issue a statement of attainment or a qualification unless the student has been assigned a USI.

The LLN assessment measure whether you have an adequate level of language, literacy and numeracy skills to complete you qualification.

RPL is a way of getting any previous relevant experience such as working, training, volunteering, including activities in the community formally recognised towards a qualification. This can be a shortcut to getting a qualification because you will be formally recognised to have completed parts of the training requirements.

Step 5 – Fees and concessions

You must pay your fees by the due date (or have a payment plan in place) otherwise you may be deregistered and have your enrolment cancelled. If you are deregistered you will not be able to continue in class activities or any work experience and your attendance and assessment results will not be recorded.

You may be eligible for a 50% concession on fees if you:

  • hold a current Health Care Card
  • hold a current low income Health Care Card
  • hold a current Pensioner Concession Card
  • apply for financial hardship circumstances.

Check with your registered training provider for concession eligibility.

Step 6 – Progressing through your Australian Apprenticeship

Congratulations! You’re now an Australian Apprentice. Once you have met all the requirements of the qualification both in your workplace and at your registered training organisation, you will complete your qualification.

Remember, now that you are an Australian Apprentice you have obligations to complete your coursework and attend any off-the-job training. Your employer also has obligations such as releasing you to attend off-the-job training where applicable.

More information about your obligations as an apprentice and those of your employer are outlined in the National Code of Good Practice for Australian Apprenticeships.

Throughout your training you may have questions about your options and what you should expect from your qualification or Australian Apprenticeship. Refer to Assistance and support for further information.


Which courses Quest Training could offer under Australian Apprenticeships?

CHC33015 Certificate III in Individual Support (Ageing)

CHC33015 Certificate III in Individual Support (Disability)

CHC32015 Certificate III in Community Services

CHC43115 Certificate IV in Disability

CHC43315 Certificate IV in Mental Health

CHC43015 Certificate IV in Ageing Support

Diploma of Community Services