Getting started

Apprenticeships and traineeships are a great way to start a career or change career direction. They involve gaining a recognised qualification while you earn money and learn your job.

Before you start an apprenticeship or traineeship you’ll need to know:

  • what apprenticeships and traineeships are available
  • how you start an apprenticeship or traineeship
  • who can help and what assistance is available to you

If you are not sure if you want to commit to a full apprenticeship or traineeship, you can undertake an introductory unit called a pre-apprenticeship or pre-traineeship.

These introductory units allow you to get a taste of the trade or industry and are fee-free, meaning, you won't have to pay anything. If you decide it's for you, then you are already on your way to studying for your full qualification. Visit pre-apprenticeships and pre-traineeships for more information.

There are over 500 apprenticeships or traineeships. Use the Apprenticeship and Traineeship Search link below to find one that matches your interests and skills.

There are some great careers and industries out there. Do some research; find out what interests you; find the boom jobs and plan your future. Check out these sites:

  • Job Outlook - career and job prospects information site
  • My Future - career options, job descriptions, resources for advisors

Listen to apprentices and trainees tell you why they chose an apprenticeship or traineeship and see some of what they have learned. Visit our YouTube channel.

Nearly every industry has a website that provides career and training information. eg, LINC, the Transport and Logistics industry site.

You can even start one while you’re at school.

Search for apprenticeship and traineeship vacancies through:

Don't forget the newspapers and online recruitment agencies.

Ask larger organisations about how they recruit, and ask businesses in your local area what their needs are, what they look for in an apprentice or trainee.

There are seven steps to getting your apprenticeship or traineeship started:

Steps Action
1. Choose the right qualification You and your employer should agree on the appropriate qualification that will meet your career goals and be suitable for the workplace.
2. Sign a contract Once you have started work, an Apprenticeship Network Provider (ANP) will help you and your employer complete a Training Contract.
3. Prepare a Training Plan Proposal Your ANP and your Registered Training Organisation (RTO) will assist you and your employer to develop a Training Plan Proposal which is lodged with your Training Contract.
4. Training Contract is lodged Your ANP will lodge your Training Contract and Training Plan Proposal with Training Services NSW for approval.
5. Contract is approved Once approved, you will receive a confirmation letter and a Training Contract ID number or TC ID ( a very important number - don't lose it!).
6. Training Plan is completed A full Training Plan must be developed within 12 weeks from the date of approval. This is done by the RTO in consultation with you and your employer.
7. You are registered Once your probation period has been completed (1-3 months) your apprenticeship or traineeship is considered "registered".

Probably the first thing you and your employer need to do is contact an Apprenticeship Network Provider (ANP) or a Training Services NSW centre to get advice on the qualification best suited to the workplace and find an appropriate Registered Training Organisation (RTO).

The ANP will help you and your employer complete the following documents:

Training Plan

This is a legal agreement which officially establishes your apprenticeship or traineeship. It tells you:

  • what qualification you are doing
  • how long your apprenticeship or traineeship will go for
  • the industrial instrument or award you're employed under, employment conditions, pay, leave
  • who your RTO is

Training Proposal

This document is lodged with your Training Contract, contains information such as:

  • your vocation, qualification title and level
  • mode of training delivery (class room, one to one, block release etc)
  • training arrangements
  • who will train you

Within 12 weeks of the approval of your apprenticeship or traineeship, your ANP and RTO will sit down with you and your employer to develop your Training Plan, which details:

  • units of competencies to be undertaken
  • critical dates
  • mode of delivery (class room, one to one, block release etc)
  • assessment details
  • training materials to be provided

Make sure you are given a copy of the Training Contract, the Training Plan Proposal and the Training Plan. Keep them safe.

If you have a disability you might be entitled to financial support to help you obtain and complete an apprenticeship or traineeship. There are employment agencies that specialise in providing assistance tailored to your individual circumstances.

Your employer may be eligible for financial help when they employ a person with disability.

This can include wage subsidies through the support for Australian Apprentices with disability program, or assistance to modify or adjust your workplace through the Employment Assistance Fund.

As an apprentice or trainee, you may be able to receive mentoring support under the Way Ahead for Aboriginal People program.

Way Ahead mentors can

  • provide you with guidance and support during your apprenticeship or traineeship
  • help you cope with some of the social and organisation pressures faced by Aboriginal people in the workplace.

For support from a Way Ahead mentor, please contact your local Training Services NSW centre on 13 28 11.

There are also programs available if you're starting a new career or a new business.

Apprenticeships and traineeships are completed when you have:

  • successfully completed your qualification (your formal or off-the-job training); and
  • your employer agrees you are competent at your job.

The steps are:

  • Your RTO issues you with a qualification;
  • Your employer advises Training Services NSW that you have completed your on-the-job training successfully; and
  • Training Services NSW issues with you a certificate.

When you complete a traineeship or apprenticeship you will get one of the these certificates from Training Services NSW:

  • a Certificate of Proficiency if you have successfully completed the formal and workplace training
  • a Craft Certificate to apprentices who have successfully completed workplace training but not the formal, ie you do not have a Qualification from an RTO. (You can upgrade to a Certificate of Proficiency later.)
  • a Certificate of Completion to trainees who have successfully completed workplace training but not the formal, ie you do not have a Qualification from an RTO. (You can upgrade to a Certificate of Proficiency later.)

Apprenticeships and traineeships can be completed before the end date of the training contract if the apprentice or trainee has been:

  • assessed as competent; and
  • issued with a qualification by their RTO.

This is known as Competency Based Completion (CBC).

If you need information about your apprenticeship or traineeship or it isn't working out like you thought it would, eg:

  • your employer isn’t training you on the job
  • your training organisation is not delivering training like they said they would
  • you are being bullied at work
  • you want to leave your job

What should you do?

Try the self help section of this site first - information contained here may prevent the issue becoming a problem.

Otherwise, there are people you can talk to who can help and advise you:

If your are employed by a Group Training Organisations contact them if you are having problems with your host employer.

Remember, the earlier you raise an issue, the more likely it is to be sorted out.

When you start your apprenticeship it is important that you keep copies of your:

  1. Training Contract
  2. Approval letter
  3. Training Contract ID number (TC ID)
  4. Training Plan

These documents contain all the information you need to know about your apprenticeship or traineeship, and are needed if you're seeking support and/or advice.


Training Services NSW - 13 28 11

Page last updated: 03 May 2018