Part-time apprenticeships and traineeships

Issued: 18 November 2011
Reviewed: 1 May 2012

A part-time employee is a person employed on a permanent basis for less than the full-time hours of work provided for in an industrial award or agreement.

A part-time apprenticeship or traineeship will only be approved where part-time employment is supported by an appropriate industrial award or agreement.

NOTE: Casual employees who commence a part-time or full-time apprenticeship or traineeship with the same employer cease to be casuals and are considered part-time/full-time employees effective from the commencement date of the training contract. As such, they are eligible to receive wages, leave entitlements and other conditions of employment that apply to part-time/full-time workers, as specified in the award or agreement.

Part-time apprenticeship and traineeship arrangements are established with support from industry and are specified in the relevant Vocational Training Order (VTO).

Hours of work

A person undertaking a part-time apprenticeship or traineeship must be offered regular employment and training each week for the duration of the training contract.

The hours of work and training undertaken by the apprentice or trainee each week must meet the minimum part-time hours specified in the relevant Vocational Training Order (VTO). If the VTO does not specify minimum part-time hours for a trade or traineeship vocation, the following minimum hours are to apply:

  • The minimum part-time hours for an apprenticeship are 21 hours per week.
  • The minimum part-time hours for a traineeship are:
    • 15 hours per week for traineeships with a full-time term of less than two years
    • 21 hours per week for traineeships with a full-time term of two years or more

These hours may be averaged over each four week period for the duration of the training contract.

The number of hours of engagement per week specified in the training contract must include the number of hours of formal training to be undertaken by the part-time apprentice or trainee through a Registered Training Organisation (RTO), whether undertaken off-the-job at the RTO’s premises or at the workplace.

Training contract term

The term of training to be undertaken by a part-time apprentice or trainee is specified in the Vocational Training Order (VTO). If the VTO does not specify a part-time term, the following terms are to apply:

  • The term of a part-time apprenticeship is one-and-a-half times the term of a full-time apprenticeship in the same vocation
  • The term of a part-time traineeship is:
    • twice the term of a full-time traineeship in the same vocation (where the full-time term is less than two years), or
    • one-and-a-half times the term of a full time traineeship in the same vocation (where the full-time term is two years or more)

If credit is sought for previous relevant experience or training, it must be included on the application for a part-time apprenticeship or traineeship in pro-rata terms (e.g. one-and-a-half or twice the length of time served in a previous full-time contract).

Formal or structured training

Delivery of the formal training should not be affected by the proposed part-time arrangements. The provisions of the current training plan guidelines apply equally to a part-time apprenticeship or traineeship as they do for a full-time apprenticeship or traineeship. However, when developing the training plan the registered training organisation should consider the number of employment hours specified in the training contract and the term of the contract.

Competency based completion

On successful completion of the relevant qualification, parties may apply to the Commissioner for Vocational Training for completion of the part-time apprenticeship or traineeship prior to the nominal completion date of the training contract, for more information and an application form, click here. Note, Training Services NSW may issue letters from the Commissioner to both parties inviting them to consider competency based completion if it has received advice from the training organisation that the apprentice or trainee is eligible to receive their qualification.

Variation of an apprenticeship or traineeship - number of hours worked

An apprenticeship or traineeship may be varied from full-time to part-time, or vice versa, on application by the employer and the apprentice/trainee to the Commissioner for Vocational Training, in accordance with section 21 of the Apprenticeship and Traineeship Act 2001. An application for variation may also be made be either party alone, without the consent of the other party. In these circumstances Training Services NSW will attempt to negotiate an agreed outcome with both the employer and the apprentice/trainee. Disputes that cannot be resolved may be referred to the Vocational Training Review Panel.

If an employer and his/her part-time apprentice/trainee agree to vary the part-time hours, there is no need to apply to Training Services NSW for variation of the training contract, providing that the hours of work and training continue to meet the minimum requirement specified above.

School based apprenticeships and traineeships

These provisions do not affect the minimum requirements that apply to school based apprenticeships and traineeships. The parties to a school based apprenticeship may apply for the post-HSC component of the apprenticeship to be undertaken on a part-time basis, subject to appropriate industrial coverage

Commissioner for Vocational Training

Page last updated: 14 March 2017