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How to Find Potential Apprentices

This information will help you find suitable candidates to be taken on as apprentices or trainees for your business.

The term ‘Australian Apprenticeships’ covers both apprenticeships and traineeships, which start when as an employer you create a job and decide to use this way of employing and training staff.

Many employers are familiar with Australian Apprenticeships, sometimes known as apprenticeships and traineeships, but don't know about some of the variations on this model. Sometimes these variations may be more suitable for your business or candidates. Here are some other types of apprenticeships you might hear about:

  • Australian School-based Apprenticeships are similar to part-time apprenticeships, but take place as part of the apprentice or trainee's schooling.
  • Pre-apprenticeships take place before an apprenticeship or traineeship, to give the potential Australian Apprentice some experience and skills in the industry. They often include work experience placements, and can be a great way to trial potential apprentices and trainees with your business.
  • Adult apprenticeships are the same as other Australian Apprenticeships, but the apprentice or trainee is over 21 years of age. Some wage, conditions and incentives differences may apply to this group.
  • Higher apprenticeships are Australian Apprenticeships at Diploma or Advanced Diploma levels, and are becoming more common in industries where higher level qualification and on the job training are needed.

Finding suitable candidates

Apprentices and trainees can be found in the same way as any other new employee, such as advertising on relevant job search sites and via word of mouth, but there are some extra options that may be worth considering.

But before you do, it's important to have realistic expectations of the skills and experience of people applying for entry level positions to help establish achievable goals for the employee. The employer should also consider how well the skills and attitude of the recruit matches the needs of the business.

A group of male and female students finsihing schoolSchools

Schools can be a good source of suitable candidates. Schools often have a VET Coordinator or Industry Liaison Officer who may be a good contact point.

You can offer work experience to school students, or other students, who are undertaking vocational training as a starting point. This is a great way to get to know a possible candidate, and give the student experience to put on their resume.

Australian School-based Apprenticeships are another option and can give a young person realistic exposure to your industry. This is where the student commences working in an apprenticeship or traineeship on a part-time basis while still completing their schooling.

The key parties involved in an Australian School-based Apprenticeship are; the student, the employer, the school, the student’s parent/guardian and the training provider. Once school is finished the Australian Apprenticeship can be carried on full-time if required.

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Carpentry student using a circular saw to cut a wooden plankTAFE and private training organisations

Many people undertake pre-apprenticeship training in the hope of securing an apprenticeship when they finish. TAFE, Group Training Organisations and some private training organisations may offer this training, although this varies in each state and territory.

Employers can get involved with pre-apprenticeship groups in a range of ways, such as by providing work placements or mock interviews. This involvement can be a way of screening potential candidates.

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

Get in touch with training providers

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Field officer visiting apprentice at the workplaceAustralian Apprenticeship Support Network Providers

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

Apprenticeship Network Providers have strong links with schools and can often assist employers when looking for an Australian School-based Apprentice.

They all have recruitment services that can help you advertise and search for suitable applicants. This is a free service.

Contact an Apprenticeship Network Provider

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Apprentice leaning on a tool cabinet with a forklift behind him'Out of Trade' Registers

Some State and Territory governments have 'out of trade' registers for apprentices and trainees who have not yet completed their training. Often these are employees who have been retrenched by their previous employer due to a lack of work. As they will come with some experience this might be the right option for you.

If you are looking for an apprentice or trainee with experience and training, visit the sites below.

If your state or territory doesn't have an 'out of trade' register, contact an Australian Apprenticeship Support Network provider or Group Training Organisation for more information about out of trade apprentices and trainees.

The Re-engagement register has been set up to help Australian Apprentices affected by COVID-19. Take on an apprentice or trainee who already has some skills and experience.
NAEN Re-engagement Register

Other Considerations

  • Some businesses employ apprentices and trainees from their current workforce. They may do this to formalise skills, learn new skills, or reward a worker for their performance. Employers should be aware that employing an existing employee as an apprentice may affect pay rates and incentives.
  • jobactive, Disability Employment Services, Transition To Work, and Community Development Program (CDP) providers can assist you to find candidates that may be suitable for your business. In some cases, incentives may apply.

An alternative option for employing apprentices and trainees

Some employers take on 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. This can also apply to an Australian School-based Apprentice.

The GTO approach can be a great benefit for a small business, including traders with no other employees. They can also be used by larger organisations who want additional support.

For more information about Group Training Organisations

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Get your apprentice or trainee signed up

Every Australian Apprentice must be signed up into a formal training contract, typically within 14 days of being employed. This ensures that everyone is aware of their responsibilities, and the apprentice or trainee is registered correctly with the government. An Australian Apprenticeship Support Network provider of your choice will conduct the sign up.

Find out more about the sign up and other responsibilities and obligations

Employer Responsibilities