How school-based apprenticeships and traineeships work

School-based apprenticeships and traineeships (SATs) allow high school students (usually in Years 10, 11 or 12) to earn a wage, train towards a nationally recognised qualification and study towards their Queensland Certificate of Education at the same time.

Use your SAT to kick-start your career and learn invaluable, real-life workplace skills and hands-on industry experience.

Specific requirements

There are specific requirements for SATs that apply to:

  • age limits
  • paid work and minimum hours
  • parental consent
  • school support and timetables.

Some of the training and/or work must take place during school hours.

Read more about eligibility and requirements.

How long it takes

It usually takes twice as long to complete an apprenticeship or traineeship at school, than it does to do one full-time, because school-based apprentices and trainees work fewer hours.


A school-based traineeship usually takes 2–4 years to complete, depending on when you start it and the type and level of the qualification. If you don't complete your traineeship before graduating, you can continue it by converting to part-time or full-time and continuing to work with your employer until you complete.


You can't complete your apprenticeship during high school because apprenticeships take longer than that. But you can start one at school, convert to part-time or full-time once you graduate and continue to work with your employer until you completed after another 2–3 years.

For example, if you start a 4-year full-time apprenticeship at the start of Year 11, you will usually have finished 1-year full-time equivalent by graduation (because school-based apprenticeships take twice as long). To continue it after school, you'll need to do approximately another 3 years full-time. So, in total, it may take you 5 years to complete.

How many hours you work

You are required to work at least 7.5 hours a week, averaged over every 3 months, for every 12 months of your training contract.

For example, if you can't work during exams, you can work more hours during the school holidays.

If you are an apprentice in the electrotechnology industry, you are required to work more hours.

Learn more about required working hours.

How much you get paid

You get paid for the hours you work, but not necessarily for the hours you attend training.

Read 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 training and assessment.

Your training may be:

  • online, with a trainer checking in on you regularly
  • at work, with an on-site trainer
  • in a class at a training organisation, like TAFE.

How often you attend training

Depending on your apprenticeship or traineeship and training organisation, you might complete your training:

  • online during a spare period at school each week
  • in the workplace, with a trainer who visits regularly
  • with other students in a class environment on campus, either 1 or more days a week, or for a block (e.g. you might attend a 2-week block of classes).

How training counts towards your grades

Training can count towards final Queensland Certificate of Education (QCE) credit points.

Credits are based on the number of 'competencies'—knowledge or skills applied to a workplace—you complete and/or the number of hours you have worked.

For more information about QCE credits, refer to the Queensland Curriculum and Assessment Authority (QCAA).

How much it costs

Talk to your training organisation about tuition fees. They set these fees, so prices may vary and it pays to shop around. They must tell you how much your course will cost before you start your apprenticeship or traineeship.

Some training organisations receive government funding, as a contribution towards the costs of delivering training for priority apprenticeships and traineeships.

There may also be other costs associated with your training and/or employment, such as textbooks and uniforms.

Learn more about costs and financial help.

Who is involved

SATs are a training between:

  • you, the student (and your parent/guardian if applicable)
  • your school
  • your employer
  • your training organisation
  • and
  • an Australian Apprenticeship Support Network (AASN) provider, who signs you up.

You sign a training contract with your employer, a formal agreement that binds you together until your apprenticeship or traineeship ends.

Read about each party's role and responsibilities.

More information

For detailed requirements on school-based arrangements, view: