Training plays a critical role in helping workers acquire the skills necessary to develop their careers.

Comprehensive government approved Training Packages which set out key learning requirements, assessment processes, and available qualifications exist for all SDA members.

In many instances employers may obtain government subsidies where they employ workers undertaking such training programs.

Access to Education and Training

All individuals must have the right to be able to develop their potential and aspirations to the full.  Government has a role to play in this regard.

The greatest protection against poverty is for an individual to have a secure, well paid job.

Education and training are increasingly becoming pivotal factors in whether individuals can obtain, hold and advance in employment.

Access to education and training, employment placement assistance and career advice, financial assistance and a taxation system which recognises the difficulties of returning to employment are all important to help people to establish or re-establish themselves in the paid workforce.

Quality outcomes which meet the needs of learners and employers and provide adequate support and protection for trainees and apprentices are critical.

Many young people are employed under traineeships or apprenticeships.


An apprenticeship is a training contract between an employer and an employee, in which the employer provides training and the apprentice/ trainee learns the occupation/ trade.  Apprenticeships include both traditional trade apprenticeships and traineeships.

Anyone over the age of 15 years, including current employees, can become an apprentice or trainee.

Apprentices/ trainees can be employed on a full-time or part-time basis (subject to appropriate industrial relations arrangements being in place).

Different levels of regulation apply to an apprenticeship compared with a traineeship.

The significant difference between an apprenticeship and a traineeship is that an apprenticeship can only be cancelled, varied or suspended when the employer and apprentice both consent, if both parties (the employer and the apprentice) cannot agree, the State Training Authority (STA) can be requested to resolve the issue.

A traineeship can be cancelled, varied or suspended by one party alone.

If an apprentice is unfairly dismissed, the STA may hold a hearing to resolve the dispute.  A trainee who alleges unfair dismissal, does not have this right.

If the business the apprentice is working for is sold, the apprenticeship is considered part of the business and must be continued by the new employer.  If the business a trainee is working for is sold, the new owner does not have to continue the traineeship.

An apprenticeship pathway is generally only available at the Certificate III level.  An apprenticeship is generally a trade job that has existed for many years, for example, a hairdresser.

A traineeship pathway is generally at the Certificate II, Certificate III or Certificate IV level in areas such as retail.

Training is based upon national competency standards set out in the relevant National Training Package.

Training may be totally on-the-job or preferably, a combined on and off-the-job program.

When all competencies have been achieved, the apprentice/ trainee will gain a nationally recognized qualification.  This qualification is widely recognized by employers across the industry and therefore is normally “portable” from one employer to another.

A training contract must apply for all apprenticeships and traineeships.  A training contract is an agreement between the employer and the apprentice/ trainee about the training conditions and the types of training which the employer will provide to the apprentice/ trainee.  It spells out who will be providing the training, and in most cases, confirms that the apprentice/ trainee will attend off-the-job training.  Off-the-job training must be delivered by a registered training organization (such as a T.A.F.E Institute or private training provider).

The contract must be signed by both the employer and the apprentice/ trainee.  If the apprentice/ trainee is under eighteen years of age, the contract must be signed by a parent or guardian.

Apprentices/ trainees are paid under the relevant award or agreement.  Wages vary according to the age of the apprentice/ trainee, how long they have been out of school and other factors.

It is the responsibility of the employer to inform the apprentice/ trainee of the employment conditions the he or she will be working under, including whether the apprentice/ trainee is full- time or part –time.  Apprentices and trainees are generally subject to the same employment conditions as other employees.  However, the employer and the apprentice/ trainee are also subject to the conditions of the training contract.

The employer must be able to demonstrate that a suitably qualified person will be supervising the apprentice/ trainee, and that on-the-job training will enable the apprentice/ trainee to become a competent worker.  The employer must let the apprentice/ trainee attend training classes.

Under the terms of a training contract, the employer must:

  • prepare and provide relevant training that will equip the apprentice/ trainee will the skills required to work at the business
  • provide appropriate supervision while the apprentice/ trainee is at work, and
  • make sure the apprentice/ trainee is enrolled with a registered training organization within three months of the apprentice/ trainee starting work.

The employer must provide a safe place for the apprentice/ trainee to work.  They must also adhere to the provisions of equal opportunity legislation and anti- discrimination legislation, and not permit apprentice/ trainees to be verbally, physically or sexually harassed in the workplace.

There are a variety of subsidies available to businesses employing apprentices.  Depending on the circumstances, these can be based on the level of training and how long the apprentice/ trainee has been unemployed.

If the employer and the apprentice/ trainee can’t agree on something related to training, the matter may be referred to the S.T.A to hold a hearing to resolve the dispute.