Home Employer Information & Support How to Find Potential Apprentices

How to Find Potential Apprentices

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

Employers have control over how they recruit apprentices and trainees and who they decide to employ. Having realistic expectations of the skills and experience of people applying for entry level positions helps establish achievable goals for the employee. It is important that employers and employees understand their responsibilities when involved in Australian Apprenticeships.

Things to consider

  • 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. As they will come with some experience this might be the right option for you.

  • 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.

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.

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.

Search for schools in your local area


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

Search for providers

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


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.

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 Apprenticeship Network Provider or Group Training Organisation.

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 as soon as they are employed. This ensures that everyone is aware of their responsibilities, and the apprentice or trainee is registered correctly with the government. Ask the Australian Apprenticeship Support Network Provider of your choice to conduct your sign up. 

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 Australian Apprenticeship Network Support Provider. They lodge the contract of training with the State or Territory government, assess your eligibility for incentives and if your apprentice or trainee is entitled to any additional support.

Contact an Apprenticeship Network Provider


Post Recruitment

After an apprentice or trainee 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. 


Group of chefs standing in the kitchen smiling at the camera

Pay and Conditions Information

Find key sources and essential contact points for more on Australian Apprenticeship pay rates and modern awards.

Piggy bank on grass

Incentives Information

Learn about incentives that may be available to you when taking on an Australian Apprentice

Calculator to calculate apprentice or trainee wages and conditions

Fair Work Ombudsman Pay Calculator

The Fair Work Ombudsman can provide you with information about apprentice and trainee wages and entitlements.

Picture of the flowchart for employers wanting to hire apprentices or trainees

Employing an Australian Apprentice Flowchart

An easy step by step guide to employing an apprentice or trainee.