Recognition of trade skills - applying for a Certificate of Proficiency - information for applicants

If you have trade skills and experience but have never completed an apprenticeship or obtained formal qualifications in Australia, you can go to a training provider and undertake some gap training and apply to the Commissioner for Vocational Training for a Certificate of Proficiency. You can do this whether you have gained your trade skills through formal training or on-the-job experience either in Australia or overseas where you can satisfy all eligibility criteria.

If your application is successful you will be formally recognised as a tradesperson and issued with a Certificate of Proficiency.

Anyone who has acquired the relevant Australian qualification and can demonstrate that they are adequately experienced in a trade vocation can apply to the Commissioner to have their trade portfolio assessed. Your work experience trade skills and overseas skills will be taken into consideration along with your Australian qualification.

To be eligible, you must:

  1. be living in NSW or living in Australia intending to work in NSW
  2. have completed an Australian qualification (certificate & transcript)
  3. provide evidence of the years you have worked in the trade including work orders, examples of on-the-job training, references from certified tradesperson
  4. provide details of the duration of your trade training eg. e-profiling, skills tracker
  5. provide samples of work, projects, practical experience demonstrated in employment
  6. provide copies of supporting documentation must be verified as being true and correct copies of original documents certified by a Justice of the Peace
  7. provide evidence demonstrating your skills, training, practical experience and employment associated with a trade vocation; and
  8. demonstrate that you are adequately trained to work in a trade vocation.

If your application is successful you will be issued with a Certificate of Proficiency.

The Commissioner considers applications for a certificate of proficiency in accordance with the provisions of the Apprenticeship and Traineeship Act 2001. The Commissioner may consult representatives from industry (both employer and employee). The Commissioner considers your qualification and relevant supporting documentation. The process involves comparing your training and work experience with the requirements for the relevant trade in Australia.
The Commissioner will consider:

  1. your relevant Australian trade qualifications
  2. the duration of the training you have received
  3. the time you have worked in the trade
  4. the type of instruction and training you have received

The Commissioner relies on relevant documentary evidence to assess your application and the quality of evidence demonstrating your trade skills, practical experience and employment in the trade.

Examples of relevant documents may include:

  • transcripts and certificates of formal training completed
  • work-related references from employers detailing the nature of trade work and the duration of employment, procedures applied and tools and equipment used which are consistent with your trade (references must be on employer's letterhead signed and dated)
  • work orders, e-profiling, skills tracker, log books or job cards illustrating the nature of trade work you have performed
  • any other evidence that demonstrates that you are competent or trained to work in your trade that has been verified by a past employer or qualified supervisor

The Commissioner publishes information guides for apprenticeship trade vocations. These summarise typical work for most trades and the evidence demonstrating the nature and duration of your employment and training that you need to submit to support your application.

Electrical (Electrician) evidence example

Employees in the Electrical (Electrician) trade select, install, set up, test, fault find, repair and maintain electrical systems and equipment in industrial, commercial and domestic settings.

They dismantle, assemble and fabricate electrotechnology components, lay wiring, terminate accessories, install writing and accessories for low voltage circuits, verify compliance and functionality of general electrical installations, disconnect and reconnect fixed wired electrical equipment connected to low voltage supply and develop and connect control circuits.

They solve problems in extra-low voltage single path circuits, in multiple path direct current circuits, electromagnetic circuits and in single and three phase low voltage circuits.

They may also perform the following tasks:

  • install low voltage electrical apparatus and associated equipment
  • find and repair faults in electrical apparatus and circuits
  • select and arrange equipment for general electrical installations
  • use drawings, diagrams, schedules and manuals
  • make quotations for installation or service jobs

Identify the trade in which you are applying for, check its currency and correct name from the list of trades for recognition purposes before completing the application form. You need to know the competencies against which you will be assessed. Refer to Trades list below.

View the list of trade information guides that provide the type of evidence demonstrating the nature and duration of your employment and training required to support your application.

If the trade you are interested in is not in this list, email Training Services NSW or phone 1300 772 104

Read the Certificate of Proficiency guidelines [Pdf 316KB] and follow the step-by-step instructions.

  1. The guidelines provide essential information on:
    • the application process
    • acceptable documentary evidence to support your application
    • fees
    • licensing authorities
    • translation services
    • contacts for assistance and advice.
  2. Complete and submit an Application [Pdf 356Kb] as per the instructions on the form.

To work in some trades in NSW, you must be licenced. The Commissioner does not issue licences or qualifications. The Commissioner issues a Certificate of Proficiency in the trade vocation concerned to successful applicants.

Certificate of Proficiency

This trade certificate is awarded to persons who have demonstrated they are adequately trained to work in the trade, through evidence of past employment and experience in the trade and successful completion of a relevant Australian qualification.

For licenced trades information visit Certificate of Proficiency - other information.


For advice and information contact Training Services NSW - Apprenticeships and Traineeships unit:


Phone: 1300 772 104 or to be directed to your local Training Services NSW Regional Office, phone 13 28 11.

Page last updated: 5 March 2021