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Apprenticeship or Traineeship Questions

What is an apprenticeship or traineeship? What level of education do I need? Do I get paid? Do I have to go to a training college? What does a boilermaker do? Does a carpenter lay carpet? Does an Automotive Technician need to be smart? How long does my apprenticeship take? Do I get paid for overtime?

All of the above questions have been asked by prospective apprentices and trainees, just like you, at some time in our company’s long history of placing apprentices and trainees in NSW and  Queensland.

Below are the more Frequently Asked Questions that we have answered.

If you do not get the answers you are looking for, please Contact Us and we will be happy to answer your questions.

two apprentices working on welding skills

An apprenticeship is an entry level position into a trade. It is made up from a combination of on-the-job (worksite) and off-the-job training (at a Registered Training Organisation).  Once you have completed all the required modules for your apprenticeship or traineeship you will come away with a nationally recognised qualification.

The average apprenticeship has a duration of approximately 3-4 years, depending on the individual. If you put the effort in and complete your training early and you have satisfied your employer that you are competent on the worksite, you may be signed off early.

A traineeship has a duration of somewhere between 1 and 3 years. The same rules apply to a traineeship as they do for an apprenticeship.

Just about anyone can undertake an apprenticeship or traineeship.   It comes down to what you want out of your career, and what you are most interested in.  If you like the outdoors and working with your hands, a construction trade career may be for you. If you prefer to work indoors and want to progress in the business world, a business administration traineeship could be for you. Most apprenticeships and traineeships require you to have good literacy and numeracy skills, along with an interest or passion for what you want to do.   At Smart Apprenticeship Solutions we understand that most applicants may not have decided on a career path yet. We can help you to find out more about different trades and what may suit your interests and strengths. Our Employment Officers are there to assist you to make an informed decision on which trade you could make a successful career out of.

In 1978, the New South Wales Master Builder’s Association worked on a scheme, allowing apprentices and trainees to be shared between Association members. This enabled the apprentices and trainees to gain a variety of training, as well as giving the employers more flexibility.

1980 saw the ACTU Lend Lease Foundation backing the scheme and looking at ways of expanding the idea further. With the State and Federal Governments also becoming involved with subsidies and other support, group training was evolving as a significant employment opportunity.

The concept of Group Training is to encourage more businesses to participate in apprenticeship and traineeship training without having the responsibility of indenturing apprentices and trainees for the full duration of their training.

There are Group Training companies throughout Australia working in conjunction with 35,000 hosts employing some 40,000 apprentices and trainees. They are incorporated, not for profit organisations and some for profit, set up to offer a service to the community by providing employment opportunities through apprenticeships and traineeships.

Smart Apprenticeship Solutions was established in August 1984 with the aim of placing as many young people as possible in apprenticeships and traineeships in Queensland.

This varies, depending on the apprenticeship/ traineeship and the employer. Most apprenticeships/ traineeships require a minimum level of year 10, though some employers will prefer you to have finished year 12.   Some trades, like carpentry or anything in the construction area will also require you to have a reliable vehicle and current drivers licence along with a Construction Industry Occupational Health & Safety (White) Card. With the Engineering industry, this is most times not as important because you are travelling to the same job site every day.  

Yes you do! While undertaking your qualification and learning in the workplace you get paid an apprentice or trainee wage. The amount that you will be paid will vary depending on the trade that you choose and the year or skills level that you are at.  You can find out more about what apprenticeships average salaries are from 1st to 4th year apprentices on the Australian Government’s Fair Work website

You must have the right to work in Australia to commence an apprenticeship or traineeship. Australian citizens and New Zealand citizens who have entered Australia on a valid passport, have unrestricted rights to enter an apprenticeship or traineeship in Australia.

Any other person wanting to work in Australia must have a visa allowing employment. Visa holders may start an apprenticeship or traineeship provided their work rights allow this, based on advice provided by the Department of Home Affairs.

To be registered as a Queensland or New South Wales apprentice or trainee, your workplace address must be in Queensland or New South Wales.

For those living in Queensland, the ATIS-018 Interstate apprentices and trainees information sheet provides further details.

For those living in New South Wales, more information can be found on the NSW Education site


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