School-based apprenticeships and traineeships

School-based apprenticeships and traineeships (SBATs) let you kickstart your career early, combining school with on-the-job training and vocational study. 

With an SBAT, you can be well on your way to completing a nationally recognised qualification by the time you finish Year 12. Plus, you’ll be earning as you go.

A female electrician learning from an instructor at work

Here’s what an SBAT can mean for you:

  • Getting an early start in your dream career
  • Learning practical skills with valuable, hands-on work experience
  • Earning real wages through part-time employment
  • Working towards a nationally recognised qualification
  • Staying in school with your mates – and graduating alongside them, too
  • Gaining credit towards your VCE, VCE Vocational Major or Victorian Pathways Certificate
  • The option to continue with further vocational education or university studies once you’ve finished your apprenticeship or traineeship.

Here’s how it works:

SBATs are open to senior secondary students 15 years and up who are enrolled in VCE or from 2023, the VCE Vocational Major or Victorian Pathways Certificate. You will combine regular school attendance with at least one day a week on the job or in structured training provided by a Registered Training Organisation (RTO).

The program involves a formal training contract with an employer, and a training plan registered with the Victorian Registration and Qualifications Authority (VRQA). SBATs need to be approved by your school and meet guidelines published by the Department of Education and Training.

By starting an apprenticeship or traineeship at school, you may be able to reduce the time required to complete an apprenticeship or even complete a traineeship, depending on the type of qualification you want.

For most students, the first step towards an SBAT will be speaking with a teacher or careers advisor at your school. They can help you find out opportunities that are available in your area, and how you can access them.

Some Victorian schools are already participating in the Head Start program – a new, flexible approach to running SBATs. Head Start will be available to all government secondary schools by the end of 2023.