Apprentices and Traineeships
Apprenticeships play a very important role in Australia’s system of skills development, having had a long history of successfully combining paid on-the-job training in tandem with formal skills and knowledge development.
The Australian apprenticeship and traineeship system is characterised by the following:
- An education and training regime set up by, or with the approval of, governments;
- A relatively large system on a world scale;
- Routinely comprises young people and adults, and part-time workers;
- Includes a large range of occupations; with a range of training lengths from one to four years;
- Apprentices’ legal status is that they are employees, and they are paid as such;
- Employers are responsible for the development of the apprentice;
- Some financial incentives and tax concessions are provided to employers and also to apprentices (for example, tools allowances);
- It has relatively low rates of completion, but involves high rates of progression to a permanent job for those who complete;
- Includes on-the-job and off-the-job training; the off-the-job training is usually in adult VET training providers;
- Results in the awarding of a qualification and/or licence and/or some other recognition that enables an occupation to be practised independently once the apprenticeship is successfully completed.
In terms of policy the draft VET Roadmap formulated by Federal, State and Territory governments serves as a broad framework for considering VET system reform. An important part of the roadmap is to reform apprenticeships. This includes to explore alternative models for employment-based training, improve employer navigation through the system, refine data collection and review existing government and industry support for apprenticeships and trainees.
 Stanwick, J; Ackehurst M & Frazer K 2021, Issues in apprenticeships and traineeships – a research synthesis, National Centre for Vocational Education Research
 Smith E 2021, The expansion and contraction of the apprenticeship system in Australia, 1985-2020, Journal of Vocational Education & Training
 Department of Education, Skills and Employment 2021, Vocational Education and Training (VET) Reform Roadmap Draft
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