How do you find an apprenticeship - Career HQ
How do I get an apprenticeship, What is an Apprenticeship, apprenticeships
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How do you find an apprenticeship

If you’ve been thinking that you might want to gain hands-on experience in an area of interest, or are looking to become a qualified tradesperson, an apprenticeship can provide a great pathway to a chosen career.


There is a lot of debate in the media and online about the value of apprenticeships versus choosing to study at university. At CareerHQ, we believe there are some compelling reasons to choose an apprenticeship if that is your area of interest. These reasons are summarised below together with the basics steps you need to follow to help you get an apprenticeship.

Skills shortages

From a high in 2012, the number of people starting and completing apprenticeships has declined markedly. For example, in Queensland, the number of people starting an apprenticeship dropped from 26,600 in June 2012 to just 7800 in December 2016.

Additionally, research conducted by the Federal Department of Employment, and released in August 2017, highlights skill shortages in a number of trade areas, including:

  • Automotive and Engineering Trades Workers
  • Construction Trades Workers
  • Electrotechnology and Telecommunication Trades Workers
  • Food Trades Workers

So there are compelling reasons to choose an apprenticeship if that is where your thinking lies, because for the foreseeable future, there should be plenty of work opportunities in most trades.

Nationally recognised qualifications

When you undertake an apprenticeship, you combine training and employment. Many apprenticeships lead to a nationally recognised qualification, so there is no limit on travelling throughout the country and finding work. The skills you gain can also provide the basis for further education and training over the course of your working life

Apprenticeships are available in a variety of certificate levels in more than 500 occupations across Australia, including ‘traditional’ trades, as well as a diverse range of emerging careers in most sectors of business and industry. Additionally, apprenticeships are based on ‘competency based’ training, which means you can complete your training faster if you reach the required skills levels.

Start at any age

You can start an apprenticeship at any age. You do not need a secondary school certificate or other qualification to be able to start an apprenticeship.

While apprenticeships are traditionally taken up by school leavers, and can provide an important pathway from school to work, you can also start an apprenticeship if you are re-entering the workforce or a career changer looking to gain new skills.

There are also opportunities for school leavers to start their training part-time at school. For those with some work experience, existing skills and prior experience can be recognised and you can be granted course credits, potentially reducing the formal training time.

Earn while you learn

Perhaps one of the attractions for many people is that as an apprentice, you will be paid while you work and learn. Apprenticeships involve both paid, supervised on-the-job work and structured training that can be on-the-job, off-the-job or a combination of both.

What is an Apprenticeship?

There is a high level of government training, support and guidance for apprentices. Australian apprenticeships are delivered through a cooperative arrangement between the Australian Government, State and Territory Governments, industry, employers and Registered Training Organisations (RTO).

As an apprentice, you would have a legal agreement called a training contract with your employer. This lasts until you have completed your training and both you and your employer agree you are competent. Apprenticeships can take from one to four years to complete, depending on the type of qualification undertaken.

You’ll be supervised while learning on the job, and you will also attend off-the-job training with a training provider. In some cases, training may be completely undertaken in your workplace. You may also be required to have completed a pre-apprenticeship (a base level trade certificate at TAFE or with an RTO) before you can apply for an apprenticeship in some trades.

The state government may subsidise your off-job training, meaning you pay less towards course fees. Apprentices have the same rights to superannuation, workers’ compensation and other entitlements or requirements as all other workers in Australia.

what is an apprenticeship

How do I get an apprenticeship?

There are a number of ways to find an apprenticeship, including:

Once you have identified an employer who is interested in taking you on, you should
contact an Apprenticeship Network provider to confirm details about incentives and to organise a training contract which would be signed between you and the employer.

As an apprentice, you’ll get real-life, hands-on experience learning a skilled trade under the supervision of a qualified tradesperson. It’s a great way to kick-start your career if you are interested in a trade, want to earn while you are learn, and want a qualification that can take you on a number of pathways, including further tertiary study later on if you wish.

The opportunity also exists for many tradespeople to start up their own businesses, either as a sole trader or employing other people, if this should appeal to you during your career.

Apprenticeships certainly seem worth thinking toward if they fit your strengths and interests.