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What are Australian School-based Apprenticeships?

Apprenticeships and traineeships can be undertaken as part of secondary schooling.

Australian School-based Apprenticeships (ASbAs) are similar to other apprenticeships or traineeships. They are commenced part-time as part of secondary schooling. Some states may also refer to them as School-based Apprenticeships or Traineeships (SBATs).  

Students who undertake an ASbA earn a wage, work with an employer, and train towards an accredited qualification while undertaking their high school certificate. ASbAs are also a great option for employers who are looking for part-time staff, or who want to give an opportunity to a young person who is still at school. 

Who can do an ASbA?

To be eligible to do an Australian School-based Apprenticeship (ASbA), someone must be:

  • Eligible to do an Australian Apprenticeship. This includes being old enough to legally work in your state or territory.
  • Undertaking secondary schooling, and have the approval of the school.
  • If under 18 years of age, have the approval of a parent or caregiver.

There are state and territory specific eligibility criteria. These may limit ASbAs to students in specific year levels at school and to starting at set times of year. There are links to state and territory ASbA information at the bottom of this page.

School students may be eligible to undertake a part-time Australian Apprenticeship, outside of a school-based arrangement.

Getting approval to do an ASbA

Parent or caregiver

If the student is under 18, a parent or caregiver will need to sign the legal paperwork before the ASbA can commence. The key documents that require a signature are the Training Contract and Training Plan. School students should make sure their parent or caregiver is happy for them to do an ASbA early on in their planning.

School

An ASbA is part of schooling, and the apprentice or trainees' secondary school must be onboard. The school will help to facilitate details of the employment and training, including working with the employer to balance the student’s timetable between work and schooling.

Some schools do not allow students to do ASbAs. If you are unsure about this you should check with a career adviser or teacher before planning an ASbA.

Who is involved in an ASbA?

Employer

Every Australian Apprenticeships starts with an employer, including an ASbA. An offer of employment must be made before an ASbA can commence. For information on finding an employer, visit our How to Find an Apprenticeship page.

The employer is responsible for training and monitoring the Australian Apprentice throughout the life of the ASbA. The employer will also need to work with the school to ensure the student’s work and schooling duties can both be met.

Registered Training Organisation

The Registered Training Provider (RTO) will provide the off-the-job training component of the ASbA in accordance with the agreed upon Training Plan. The training will not start until after the apprentice or trainee is signed up.

Australian Apprenticeship Support Network provider 

Once the school, parent or caregiver, and employer are in all agreement about the ASbA, an Australian Apprenticeship Support Network (AASN) provider must get involved.

As with any Australian Apprenticeship, an AASN provider will be involved in the sign-up process, ensuring the Training Contract is signed by all parties. ASbA contracts may differ according to elements such as the state or territory, number of required work hours, and the employer’s needs. 

It is common for ASbA students to continue their apprenticeship or traineeship after completing secondary school. In this case, the individual will need to officially transfer their training type to a full-time or part-time Australian Apprenticeship. The AASN provider should be contacted for more information about this.

Steps to an Australian School-based Apprenticeship

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How do Australian School-based Apprenticeships work?

Not everything that is approved as an Australian Apprenticeship can be done as an ASbA. The approved qualifications tend to be different in each state or territory. You should review what is approved in your state or territory in the Job and Training Description Search.

Some ASbAs may be completed while the student is still in school. In other instances, ASbAs can continue post-schooling. Once a student completes their apprenticeship or traineeship they will have earned a nationally recognised qualification. This can lead to upskilling to a higher level qualification, attending university, or even starting their own business.  

Every ASbA will be slightly different according to what the student, school and employer agree upon. Each State or Territory Training Authority or Education Department will have information about the requirements of an ASbA.

Benefits of employing an ASbA

Taking on an Australian School-based Apprentice or Trainee can be a huge benefit for employers. Some of the main benefits include:

  • Part-time staff, who may be available for extra work hours over school holidays.
  • Access young enthusiastic workers before they enter the open job market.
  • Encourage a young person to stay at school while also learning a trade or profession.
  • Extra support for the employer and student may be available through the school.

Hear from an ASbA Student

See more at MyGain
 

Yuseph got a head start in Boilermaking by starting his apprenticeship at school.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Do I get paid while undertaking an ASbA?

Yes! As well as gaining valuable skills and experience you will get paid a wage while undertaking your ASbA.  

The amount you will get paid will depend on the award or enterprise agreement you are on as well as the industry and occupation you are in. Read more about Wages and Financial Support.  

How many hours will I have to work for my ASbA?

Working hours will differ between individual ASbAs. The hours of work required are dependent on the laws in each state and territory and the needs of each individual employer. It is up to the Australian Apprentice to work with their school and employer to negotiate their working hours.  

Will my training contribute to my Secondary School Certificate of Education?

Contributions will be different according to the laws of each state or territory where the qualification is undertaken. It is up to the Australian Apprentice to speak with their school’s VET coordinator or career adviser to find out more information about contributions. The State or Territory Training Authority can also help with questions about this.

What support is available for Australian Apprentices?

Working and studying at the same time can be invigorating but also challenging. Students who are undertaking an ASbA are encouraged to stay in regular contact with the support networks around them, including parents or caregivers, career advisers and their employer. There is also support available for apprentices through the duration of an Australian Apprenticeship. Read more about support services and Post Recruitment Information.