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Frequently Asked Questions

What is the difference between an apprenticeship and a traineeship?

An apprentice or trainee is a person employed under a training contract for a nominal period of time

As an apprentice you are trained in a skilled trade and upon successful completion will become a qualified trades person.

As a trainee you are trained in a vocational area and will receive a minimum of a certificate II in your chosen vocational area upon successful completion.

Some industries – such as automotive – offer both traineeships and apprenticeships. The key difference between apprentices and trainees is the level of commitment made by the apprentice or trainee and the employer.

Here are some examples of the differences between the two:

Under an apprenticeship:

  • An employer agrees to employ you for the term of the apprenticeship and to support you in your training for that period of time

  • You agree to follow instruction and attend off-the-job and/or workplace-based training

  • If your employer sells the business during your apprenticeship, the new employer must continue with the training contract

  • Once the probationary period of the training contract has passed, all parties must agree in order for the contract to be cancelled

Under a traineeship:

  • An employer agrees to employ you for the term of the traineeship and to support you in your training for that period of time

  • You agree to follow instruction and attend structured training

  • If the business is sold, the new employer does not have to keep you on as a trainee

What age can I start being an apprentice or trainee?

Australian apprenticeships can be started at 14 years and nine months of age, however some Health and Safety requirements may require the Australian apprentice to be 16.

Is there an age limit to being an apprentice or trainee?

There are no age limits on entering into an apprenticeship or traineeship in WA. If you are a mature worker looking for a career change or an existing worker with skills but not qualified, it’s never too late to start an apprenticeship.

Are there any entry-requirements?

There are no formal entry-level requirements for people wishing to undertake apprenticeships, however some apprenticeships have a minimum educational requirement or require that another qualification be completed first.

What are school-based apprenticeships and traineeships?

School-based apprenticeships and traineeships (SBAs and SBTs) allow high school students to work for an employer, train towards a recognised qualification, and complete their secondary school certificate.

View the Australian School Based Apprenticeships Fact Sheet for more info.

What does a typical apprenticeship or traineeship involve?

They both involve working under supervision in a workplace (in our case with a host employer) for on-the-job training, and attending a Registered Training Provider for off-the-job training.

Apprentices attend off-the-job training in blocks that typically run from 4-6 weeks to learn theory and additional skills to back up the practical skills they learn on the job.


How long will my apprenticeship or traineeship last?

A full-time Australian Apprenticeship takes one to four years to complete. As Australian School-based Apprenticeships are undertaken on a part-time basis, their durations will vary.

Traineeships generally last for 12 months, although some can extend for 24 months. This will depend on the level of training undertaken i.e. Level 2 traineeships generally last for 12 months. Level 3 & 4 traineeships may extend up to 24 months. Some industries also have the capacity to employ trainees in part-time traineeships. These may extend up to 30 months in duration.


What happens at the end of the apprenticeship or traineeship?

Apprentices and trainees are issued a nationally recognised Australian Qualifications Framework (AQF) qualification by the nominated training provider.

Trade certificates are no longer issued for apprentices who sign training contracts from 10 June 2009.

An AQF qualification, for an apprenticeship indicates:

  • successful completion of both the on and ‘off the job’ components of the training contract;

  • achievement through an apprenticeship arrangement; and

  • the individual is a qualified trades person.

Training providers cannot issue the AQF qualification until the employer, apprentice/trainee and training provider agree, in writing, that the apprentice/trainee is competent and the training contract has been completed.

If your host employer wishes to retain you as an employee at the completion of your apprenticeship, then ATC Work Smart will terminate your employment and pay-out your severance pay. Your host employer will then re-employ you directly.

If you or your host employer do not wish to continue your employment at their business at the completion of your apprenticeship, ATC Work Smart will give you advance notice prior to the completion date so that you can start making plans to seek a new employer with your new qualification.


I want to do an apprenticeship, but I’m already working in that industry. What do I do?

Talk to ATC Work Smart– we may be able to come to an arrangement with your current employer. We may also have a position available that is relevant to your current industry.

Your existing skills and prior experience may also be recognised and course credit granted, potentially reducing formal training time.


How do I apply to do an apprenticeship or traineeship with ATC Work Smart?

We invite expressions of interest at any time plus we advertise specific apprenticeship and traineeship opportunities in the paper and on our website.

You can apply for advertised jobs or register your interest to join our applicant pool. To find out more or to arrange a time to come in with your resume to apply in person contact us.

After we receive your job application or expression of interest, we invite you in for an assessment interview to determine your skills, interests and suitability for apprenticeship roles.

When a suitable vacancy comes up, we put you forward for an interview with a host employer.

If you’re successful, you will be employed and registered as an apprentice/trainee with ATC Work Smart.


What is a Host Employer?

Host employers are usually small to medium size businesses. There role is to provide on-the-job training and practical experience to the Apprentice/Trainee. The Host Employer may specify the level of skill required. For example, anything from first year to fourth year Apprentice. Also, the length of time they are needed for. This could be as short as two weeks to the full four years. ATC Work Smart will then find the right person for the required needs.

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