How to hire apprentices and trainees

Apprentices and trainees can add immense value and productivity to any workforce. Hiring them means you’ll have to meet certain requirements and obligations before they can turn up for their first day of work.

We know it’s important to find the right people for your team, and get positions filled fast. That’s why there are organisations dedicated to providing support and advice each step of the way.

Here’s how:

 

Contact your local Apprenticeship Network Provider

Your first step is to contact an Apprenticeship Network Provider (ANP) in your area. They will provide you with all the information you need to find an apprentice or trainee, and enter into a training contract. You can find your local Apprenticeship Network Provider here.

Become an approved employer

You’ll need to make some legal declarations via your ANP. Then you’ll be considered by the Victorian Registration and Qualifications Authority (VRQA), which oversees approvals for employers. The VRQA may assess your premises, any equipment your apprentice or trainee may use, and the suitability of people supervising training. Head to VRQA for more details on the approvals process. 

Find the right candidate for the job

Finding an apprentice or trainee who’s a great fit for your workplace can be similar to filling roles for regular employees. You can advertise on job sites, or use your own networks and word of mouth. And there are some extra options worth looking into:

Schools

School-based apprentices and trainees pursue on-the-job training and vocational study part-time, alongside their regular high school studies. They will also have their school, a parent or guardian and a training provider monitoring their work commitments. This can be a great way to give a young person experience in your industry without committing to full-time employment. Get in touch with the VET coordinator or industry liaison officer at your local school to find out more.

TAFEs and training institutes

Some people go through pre-apprenticeship training to build up their skill set ahead of an apprenticeship. Many TAFEs and other training institutes, such as Group Training Organisations (GTOs), offer this training, so these can be good places to find motivated candidates who are already on track with industry-specific education. Find your local TAFE here, relevant training institute here and GTO here.

Apprenticeship Network Providers

As well as assisting employers, your Apprenticeship Network Provider (ANP) is responsible for supporting local apprentices and trainees – even before they begin their training. This can include matching candidates with job opportunities, so it’s a good way to advertise your apprenticeship or traineeship. Have a look here to find your closest ANP.

Retrenched Apprentices and Trainees Program

Many apprentices and trainees lost their employment over the COVID-19 pandemic. The Retrenched Apprentices and Trainees Program helps match job vacancies with suitable candidates from this group. The program can be a good option if you don’t want to commit to the full length of an apprenticeship or traineeship, and participation may make you eligible for Australian Government incentives. Head here for more info, and to submit a job vacancy. 

Commercial job sites

Apprenticeships and traineeships can be advertised through online job sites and social media platforms, just like regular employment opportunities. Make sure to include a clear job title, the required year level, and whether the vacancy is an apprenticeship or traineeship, alongside the regular job description. 

Group Training Organisations

Acting as a host employer for a Group Training Organisation (GTO) is an alternative way to access the apprentice and trainee talent pool without hiring directly. As a host employer, you’re not tied to a contract, all government paperwork is covered by your GTO, and you can employ an apprentice or trainee for the length of time that works for you. Find out more about GTOs here, and benefits here.

Ensure fair employment

As an employer, you’re required to meet all industrial relations requirements for your apprentices or trainees. This includes paying award rates, providing annual leave and entitlements, and allowing apprentices or trainees time to attend their formal studies at a TAFE or other training institute. Find out more about how to calculate pay and entitlements at the Fair Work Ombudsman.

Get your apprentice or trainee signed up

You and your apprentice or trainee must sign up to a formal training contract within 14 days of employment – this will be conducted by your Apprenticeship Network Provider. Plus, you’ll both have to agree to a training plan – along with the relevant Registered Training Organisation. This generally covers off the timing, location and type of training needed. Find out more about these processes here.