Understand how apprenticeships and traineeships work

Apprenticeships and traineeships combine work with study, so you earn while you learn.

As an apprentice or trainee, you'll learn practical skills at work, academic skills through a training organisation and at the end, graduate with a trade qualification or vocational certificate.

Types of apprenticeships and traineeships

Apprenticeships and traineeships can be:

  • full-time
  • part-time
  • school-based
  • or
  • a combination of multiple apprenticeships and traineeships.

Apprentices and trainees can be:

  • school students
  • school-leavers
  • young adults
  • mature age people
  • existing workers who want to change or transition from general employee to tradesperson.

Read more about different types of apprenticeships and traineeships.


There are general eligibility criteria and requirements related to:

  • minimum age
  • working for a Queensland-based employer
  • citizenship and working visas
  • working hours.

Read more about eligibility and requirements.

School-based apprenticeships and traineeships have extra requirements to do with school support, parental consent and timetables.


The time it takes to complete an apprenticeship or traineeship varies, depending on:

  • the allocated length of your apprenticeship or traineeship (called the 'nominal term')
  • whether you are full-time, part-time or school-based (part-time and school-based training may take twice as long as full-time)
  • whether you can get time credit or recognition for previous training
  • how quickly you complete your training (apprenticeships and traineeships are 'competency-based training' in which skills and performance matter more than time served).

School-based traineeships can be completed before graduation depending on your start date and length, but school-based apprenticeships can't be completed during high school, because they take longer.

Comparison of approximate completion times

Traineeship 1–2 years 2–4 years 2 years
Apprenticeship 3–4 years 8 years 5 years
(2 years at school
plus 3 years full-time after school)

How many hours you work

The hours you work vary, depending on whether you are full-time, part-time or school-based.

Comparison of working hours

38+ hours/week 15+ hours/week Not allowed 7.5+ hours/week

Learn more about required working hours.

Getting paid

As an apprentice or trainee, you get paid for:

  • the hours you work and train on the job
  • the hours you attend training delivered by your training organisation.

School-based apprentices and trainees, however, are not always paid for the time spent training with the training organisation; it depends on their industrial award or agreement.

Learn more about wages and entitlements.

How training works

A training organisation will work with you and your employer to develop a training plan, which describes what, when and how you do your training.

They also deliver all your formal training and assessment.

Your training may be:

  • online
  • at work, with an on-site trainer
  • in a class at a training organisation
  • a combination of the above.

How often you attend training

How often you attend training will vary, but most apprentices and trainees attend training 1 day a week or for a few weeks at time, as a block.

How much it costs

Costs vary enormously from nothing to tens of thousands of dollars, so we can't give you an easy answer.

Your biggest expense will be tuition fees, but depending on your qualification and employer, these fees may be nothing because they are fully funded by us and/or your employer.

Find out more about costs.

Who else is involved

Your apprenticeship or traineeship is a partnership between:

  • you, the apprentice or trainee
  • your employer
  • your training organisation
  • and
  • your Australian Apprenticeship Support Network (AASN) provider, who signs you up.

If you are a school student, your school, parent or guardian will also be involved.

Read more about the roles and responsibilities of those involved.

Next step

Know the requirements