Home About Australian Apprenticeships How does Training Work?

How does Training Work?

Information on qualifications, training arrangements, providers and approaches to training delivery and assessment.

Australian Apprenticeships involve training towards a qualification, as well as learning on the job. This combination is what makes apprenticeships and traineeships so effective for both the employee and employer.

The qualification that will be done as part of the Australian Apprenticeship needs to be specified during the sign up phase. Not all qualifications can be done as an Australian Apprenticeship. You can browse the Job and Training Descriptions to find out what is approved in each state and territory.

The formal qualification, or 'off-the-job' training will be run by a Registered Training Organisation (RTO). This training is competency based, which is a method of training that supports development of skills and knowledge that can be applied in the workplace.

Competency-based training has been designed to be broken down into smaller pieces, called units. The units add up to a full qualification. Each unit has a practical and theoretical component. Once you have demonstrated the ability to perform the tasks and duties that are required it may be possible to complete the training sooner.

An trainer teaching a male and female apprentice or trainee on how to use electrical instruments

Off-the-job training by an RTO

A Registered Training Organisation (RTO) is a provider delivering Vocational Education and Training (VET). There are thousands of RTOs in Australia, which include:

  • TAFE colleges or institutes
  • Private training providers
  • Adult and community education providers
  • Some schools.

Formal training from an RTO may be subsidised, but there may be associated costs for the person being trained. It's important to know that only some RTOs have been specifically approved by state and territory governments to provide apprenticeship and traineeship training

When selecting an RTO, the employer and apprentice or trainee should also consider:

  • Whether the provider delivers the qualification they wish to do, including any specific elective units.
  • The method of delivery, for example whether it is online, in-person, or a mix.
  • How often the training is provided. Training may be done regularly, for example one day per week. It may also be done in block release, for example one week per month.
  • The travel distance to the RTO campus for in-person training. The employer may need to pay for travel of an Australian Apprentice.

The Australian Apprenticeship Support Network (AASN) provider you sign up with will be able to assist you in choosing an RTO if you and your employer haven't already selected one. 

On-the-job training by the employer

Employers play a big role in everyone getting the most out of the training experience. Their ongoing attention to training benefits themselves by helping a speedy build-up of productive skills. It also benefits their apprentice or trainee by providing feedback on the quality and relevance of the training.  

A Training Plan will outline what aspects of the training will be formally delivered by the RTO and what aspects will be the employer's or supervisor's focus in the workplace in the context of day to day work. A Training Plan is a fluid document and can be updated at any time to reflect ongoing changes in the workplace. 

For an apprentice or trainee factors that make up a quality training experience include: 

  • Having a workplace coach, mentor or supervisor 
  • Receiving clear direction about what needs to be learned 
  • Having time allocated for explanations, demonstrations and practice of tasks or skills, particularly if workplace specific methods are used 
  • Provision of regular feedback, and being able to request feedback, about the training being received in the workplace and from the training organisation 
  • Attention to the identification and resolution of problems before they affect work performance and working relationships 
  • Ongoing monitoring of the training plan by the employer, employee and training provider. Making sure the training plan is achieving outcomes, the competencies are being achieved, and that records are being kept.

Employers need to provide a positive training environment for their Australian Apprentices

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Frequently Asked Questions About Training

How will the training be delivered?

Training will be delivered both on-the-job by the employer, and off-the-job by the Registered Training Organisation.

The off-the-job education and training might be delivered online, in a classroom, hands-on, or a combination of these. This might occur at a campus, at the workplace, or virtually.

Different elements of the training might be delivered through different methods, for example, theory might be delivered online or in a classroom, while practical elements might be delivered in a workshop on campus.

Employers, apprentices and trainees should discuss the delivery models with the RTO when they sign up into the training, or when any changes are being made to the Training Plan.

Are there any skills needed before starting training?

Language, literacy, numeracy and digital skills, sometimes known as foundation or core skills, are important for most education and training. Depending on the qualification you will be training towards, different levels of these skills may be assumed. You can do a Literacy & Numeracy Quiz to see the types of skills you might need.

The Registered Training Organisation may be able to support you with additional foundation skills training if you are finding this challenging. The employer and apprentice or trainee should discuss any concerns with their Australian Apprenticeship Support Network provider or Registered Training Organisation.

Most qualifications don't have any entry requirements or pre-requisits, but the Registered Training Organisation or Australian Apprenticeship Support Network provider will discuss any with you before you start.

Which RTOs are approved to deliver training in my state or territory?

You can use the below links to search for RTOs that are approved to deliver Australian Apprenticeship training in each state and territory. Each state website is different, but you should look for information about subsidised training.

Australian Capital Territory AVETARS
New South Wales Skills NSW
Northern Territory Northern Territory Government
Queensland Queensland Skills Gateway
South Australia South Australian Skills Gateway
Tasmania Skills Tasmania
Victoria Victoria Skills Gateway
Western Australia Jobs & Skills WA

When does an Australian Apprentice enrol with a training provider?

There are different regulations in each state and territory about exactly when the Australian Apprentice needs to be enrolled with an RTO. In general, this needs to happen around the same time as the training contract is signed. A small delay is typically acceptable, but this should be discussed with the Australian Apprenticeship Support Network (AASN) provider during sign up.

While the enrolment needs to occur promptly, the Australian Apprentice may not need to start the off-the-job training for some time. In many cases, they won't start attending TAFE until after their probation period. This varies by industry, employer, and time of year. You should discuss timing of the training with the RTO.

I've already started training, can I transition into an apprenticeship or traineeship?

Sometime a student will start the training before finding an employer to take them on into an Australian Apprenticeship. There are a number of factors that impact whether the student can transition into an Australian Apprenticeship:

  • Whether the qualification is approved to be done as an Australian Apprenticeship in that state or territory.
  • How far along the student is in their training. If they are very close to the end it may be more difficult to move to an Australian Apprenticeship.
  • Whether an employer is willing to take them on in an apprenticeship or traineeship.
  • Other eligibility to undertake an Australian Apprenticeship.

Students who are considering transitioning into an Australian Apprenticeship should have a discussion with their RTO. They can also discuss eligibility with an Australian Apprenticeship Support Network (AASN) provider.

Who pays for the training, and does the Australian Apprentice get paid for their time at training?

As part of their Australian Apprenticeship, most apprentices and trainees will get paid for their time at training. There are some exceptions, so the employer and apprentice or trainee should check their entitlements with the FairWork Ombudsman to ensure this is being paid correctly.

The Fair Work Ombudsman also outlines whether the training fees and any material or travel fees are paid by the employer. There are typically rules around this, so it is important to check for your circumstances.

Pay rates may also change depending on how far through training the apprentice or trainee is, based on their progression. This is another thing you should check on the Fair Work Ombudsman website or by calling them on 13 13 94.

What is the difference between the Training Contract and the Training Plan?

When an employee is 'signed up' into an apprenticeship or traineeship, both the employer and employee sign a Training Contract or training agreement. This is a different document to the training plan, which outlines the training to be provided.

The Training Contract is a legally binding agreement between the employer and the apprentice or trainee. It protects both the employer’s and employee's interests and outlines each party’s obligations, including the training and supervision that must be provided.

Each party receives a copy of the contract. It is important to keep this copy for the duration of the Australian Apprenticeship. Here's a tip for people who think it's unlikely that they will remember where they filed a piece of paper perhaps up to four years ago: take a picture of it and back the file up somewhere handy.

The contract will cover: the qualification to be undertaken; an estimate of how long it will take to complete; the number of hours in training and employment provided each week; each party’s obligations to each other; what to do if there is a problem; and the off-the-job and on-the-job training arrangements.

Once completed, the Training Contract will be lodged with an Apprenticeship Network provider and approved by the State or Territory Training Authority. Apprenticeship Network providers are contracted by the Australian Government and operate across Australia.

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