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Home About Australian Apprenticeships Australian School-based Apprenticeships

Australian School-based Apprenticeships

Information for students, parents, employers and career advisers looking into Australian School-based Apprenticeships and Traineeships.

Australian School-based Apprenticeships can be known in states and territories as School Based Apprenticeships and School Based Traineeships (SBATs).

They are a way of starting a student’s transition into the workplace, while keeping them connected to the school environment, continuing on with a broad range of school subjects.

Like Australian Apprenticeships, the school based version must have an employment relationship.  There will be a legal training contract signed off as part of this approach.

This a variation to the usual apprenticeship or traineeship pathway so the employer must be fully informed and be part of the approach that keeps a student in school while adding the experience of vocational training and employment.

It's very important to check out state and territory government information about this school based approach to apprenticeships and traineeships. Sites are listed below, so select your location to keep researching.

Common Questions

What is an Australian School-based Apprenticeship or Traineeship?

An Australian School-based Apprenticship or Traineeship involves undertaking a combination of secondary school subjects, paid work and vocational training.

A school-based apprentice or trainee can undertake training in a traditional trade or other occupations at the Certificate I, II, III, IV, Diploma or Advanced Diploma level.  

A school-based apprenticeship or traineeship must have the agreement of each of the following:

  • The parent or guardian of the apprentice or trainee (if they are under 18 years of age)
  • The school
  • The employer
  • The TAFE or other Registered Training Organisation

The parent or guardian (if the apprentice or trainee is under 18 years of age), and the employer will be required to sign a training contract.


At what age or year level can someone start a school-based apprenticeship or traineeship?

In all States and Territories, the minimum age to start an Australian School-based Apprenticeship or Traineeship is 15.

All States and Territories advise the minimum year to commence is year 10, although it is often strongly encouraged by schools to begin in year 11 or 12.

Sometimes, under exceptional circumstances, the commencement of a school-based apprenticeship or traineeship can also begin in year 8 and 9, provided that all other eligibility requirements are met, and it is allowed by the school and the State or Territory.

To check eligibility to commence an Australian School-based Apprenticeship or Traineeship, contact your local Apprenticeship Network provider.

How long does it take?

An apprenticeship or traineeship can take from one to four years to complete, depending on the type apprenticeship or traineeship, the industry and the qualification undertaken.

Some school-based apprentices or trainees will be able to complete their training before they finish their secondary schooling, while others will finish their training after they complete secondary school.

This depends on the qualification undertaken and the speed at which they progress through their training.

How many hours does a school-based apprentice or trainee need to work?

The number of hours a school-based apprentice or trainee needs to be employed per week differs between States and Territories based on their legislation. Some school-based apprentices or trainees can undertake their paid employment outside of school hours, such as on the weekend, however others must take time during school hours to work and this depends on the requirements of the employer.

To find out more about the requirements in your State or Territory, scroll down to the State and Territory school-based links on this page.

Does a school-based apprentice or trainee get paid?

Apprentices and Trainees (including school-based apprentices and trainees) are employed under a federal or state award or agreement which sets out their wage and conditions of employment.

The Fair Work Ombudsman's website can provide more information about entitlements and wages.

More about training

Combining secondary schooling and vocational training does require a clear understanding of the training to be covered and how it will be scheduled and completed.

Training undertaken in an apprenticeship or traineeship is always documented in a training plan, and a school based approach is no exception.  Specific plans are usually finalised after recruitment of the new apprentice or trainee is confirmed.  An Apprentice Network provider is a good contact for details on the processes and the paperwork.

Questions about training and study

How does the training work?

Training delivered by a Registered Training Organisation may be undertaken for a couple of hours every week or for a longer block of time, less frequently. This will depend on the requirements of the Registered Training Organisation and the vocational training course.

School-based apprentices or trainees will need to negotiate time-release from their school subjects to attend work and training, arranging to catch up on any school material they miss at a later date.

Visit the 'Information about training' page for further information.

Can a school-based apprenticeship or traineeship contribute to a secondary school certificate of education?

Short answer, yes.

States and Territories have different rules when it comes to how many credits, or points can contribute to the certificate of education.

For further information about how your State or Territory assesses credits or points towards a secondary school certificate of education, contact your school VET Coordinator or Careers Adviser, or you can contact the relevant curriculum and assessment authority in your State or Territory using the links below.

ACT Board of Senior Secondary Studies

Northern Territory Board of Studies

NSW Education Standards Authority

Office of Tasmanian Assessment, Standards and Certification.

Queensland Curriculum and Assessment Authority

Schools Curriculum and Standards Authority - Western Australia

The SACE Board of South Australia

Victorian Curriculum and Assessment Authority

What happens when a student finishes school and has not completed their school-based apprenticeship or traineeship?

Apprenticeships and Traineeships have varying durations and some may go beyond the student's time at school. It is pretty simple to transfer from a School-based apprenticeship or traineeship to a full or part-time contract.

When that time comes, contact the Apprenticeship Network provider who conducted the sign up and they will guide you on what has to be done.

Searching for school-based apprenticeship and traineeship ideas

Not all qualifications underpinning Australian Apprenticeships are available through the school based approach.  Each state and territory may identify specific qualifications, and therefore apprenticeships and traineeships, that can be started while at school.

Search this site for Job & Training Descriptions options approved by states and territories for schools. Start by selecting the ‘Australian School-based Apprenticeship’ button. 

Recognition of Prior Learning

Recognition of Prior Learning

Did you know that school-based apprentices and trainees may get credits towards their qualification if they have already done a qualification in the same industry?

Also, the school-based qualification someone does now, could provide credits towards other qualifications in the future.

Information about training

State &Territory School-based Apprenticeship and Traineeship Information


Xen Xen - School based IDMT Traineeship

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