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Home Employer Information & Support Employing an Australian Apprentice

Employing an Australian Apprentice

Where to start?

Where to start?

Employers have control over how they recruit apprentices and trainees and who they decide to employ.

Employers can decide work with a Group Training Organisation who will take on the usual employer responsibilities.

Having realistic expectations of the skills and experience of people applying for entry level positions helps establish achievable goals for the employee.

It's also important that employers and employees understand their responsibilities when involved in Australian Apprenticeships.

Steps to recruit

Finding suitable candidates

Apprentices and trainees can be found in the same way as any other new employee, but there are some extra options that may be worth considering.

Schools can be a good source of suitable candidates, with some potential for students to be already undertaking some vocational training. Schools often have a “VET Coordinator” who may be a good contact point. Starting off by offering work experience to school students can be a useful approach.

School-based apprenticeships and traineeships are a good option in some industries. This is where the student commences working in an apprenticeship or traineeship on a part-time basis while still completing their schooling. Once school is finished the Australian Apprenticeship can be carried on full-time if required.

Many people undertake pre-apprenticeship training in the hope of securing an apprenticeship when they finish. TAFEs, Group Training and some private RTOs may offer this training, although this varies in each state and territory.  Employers can get involved in a range of ways, such as by providing work placements or mock interviews. For employers this involvement can be a way of screening candidates.

The Pre-Apprenticeship Finder on this site provides links to current pre-apprenticeships, although it is also worth contacting local providers directly. 

Other agencies focused on helping place people in Australian Apprenticeships include Apprenticeship Network providers and Group Training Organisations (searchable here).

Some state and territory governments maintain ‘out of trade’ registers for apprentices or trainees who have not completed their qualification. Often these are employees who have been retrenched by their previous employer due to a lack of work.

Some businesses employ apprentices and trainees from their current workforce. They may do this to generally upskill, or to reward a worker for their performance. Employers should be aware that employing an existing employee as an apprentice will affect pay rates and incentives.

jobactive helps you find the right staff to fit your business, at no cost to you. Your local jobactive provider does this by recommending a shortlist of screened and job-ready candidates.

Get your apprentice or trainee signed up

Get your apprentice or trainee signed up

Every Australian Apprentice must be signed up into a formal training contract as soon as they are employed. This ensures that everyone is aware of their responsibilities.

After the sign up employers can pay apprentice or trainee wages and the Australian Apprentice can be enrolled to start the training with an approved training provider.

To organise a sign up, employers need to contact an Apprenticeship Network provider. They lodge the contract of training with the state or territory government.

It's important to note that there may be specific local arrangements that an Australian Apprenticeship Network provider can assist with.

Apprenticeship Network providers play a key role in advising employers, employees and job hunters about opportunities available through apprenticeships and traineeships.

Find a local provider
An alternative option for employing apprentices

An alternative option for employing apprentices

Some employers employ apprentices directly and others use Group Training Organisations (GTOs).

GTOs work along the same lines as labour hire companies as they are the direct employer and charge host employers for the apprentice’s time.

The GTO has responsibility for the quality and continuity of the apprentices’ and trainees’ employment and training, while also providing care and support where necessary.

The GTO approach can be a great benefit for a small business, even traders with no other employees.

For more informaton click here

National Employment Standards

There are minimum standards that all employers must meet when employing an apprentice, trainee or any worker. National Employment Standards cover wages, hours of work and other conditions. There are other regulations relating to workplace safety, bullying, harassment and discrimination. There are several national, state or territory based resources in place to provide advice.

Find out more about employment standards

Employment Standards

Post Recruitment

After an apprentice has started work Apprenticeship Network providers or Group Training Organisations may offer what is called Post Placement Support.

Post Placement Support is a customised service based on need.  It provides limited ongoing contact that can help support an apprentice or trainee through to the completion of their Australian Apprenticeship.

The Registered Training Organisation (RTO) delivering training will also be in contact with employers and employees on issues relating to training, including the employee's progression toward completing the relevant certificate.

State and Territory governments may also provide support through field staff in place to work through workplace issues.

Completing an apprenticeship or traineeship is not always easy, for example, due to an individual's personal or learning issues.  Support from employers, government and service provider networks can be an essential element in achieving a successful outcome. 

Incentives and Allowances

Incentives and Allowances

Depending on which Australian Apprenticeship is offered, both the employer and the apprentice or trainee, may be eligible for one or more forms of government incentive or financial support.

For more information on incentives and other financial assistance or allowances contact a local Apprenticeship Network provider or read more here.

Further information
Busy at work

Apprenticeship Central

Apprenticeship Central is an initiative of BUSY At Work and has been created to promote apprenticeships and traineeships as a career path


Pre-Apprenticeship Finder

Pre-apprenticeships can be a way for employers to be involved in work readiness initiatives in a local area, and getting to know potential job applicants


National Apprentice Employment Network

The National Apprentice Employment Network represents Group Training Organisations. This website will helps locate local GTOs.

"Out of Trade" Registers

Australian Capital Territory

Out of Trade Apprentices - ACT Government

This website provides advice to Australian Apprentices and employers on ways to continue employment, off-the-job training and retain workers through the Out of Trade Register

New South Wales

CAPS - The Continuing Apprentices Placement Service - NSW Government

Helping to create a solid skills base for NSW industry and business

Nothern Territory

Out of Trade - Northern Territory Government

The Out of Trade Register has been established by Australian Apprenticeships NT  to assist those apprentices and trainees whose training contract has been cancelled due to economic downturn.


Out of Trade Apprentices - Queensland Government is a free service funded by the Department of Education and Training to support out-of-trade apprentices and trainees to re-enter their chosen trade.

South Australia

Skills Connect - South Australian Government

A website service where out of trade apprentices can register their interest in returning to a trade


Out of Trade Register - Skills Tasmania

The Out-of-Trade Register has been created by Skills Tasmania to provide opportunities for prospective apprentices and trainees to find employment with employers seeking staff to take up an apprenticeship or traineeship with their business.


Need an apprentice?

A website service where out of trade apprentices can register their interest in returning to a trade.

Western Australia

Out of Trade - Western Australia Government

A Fact Sheet that lists frequently asked questions about out of trade apprentices.