What is an apprenticeship or traineeship?

What is an apprenticeship or traineeship?

Apprenticeships and traineeships help you earn while you learn. That means real wages in your pocket while you complete on-the-job training and formal study. You’ll end up with a qualification that’s nationally recognised, plus heaps of valuable real-world experience.

Choose from different certificate levels in more than 500 occupations, including traditional trades and new careers across business and industry.

Apprenticeships and traineeships can be full-time, part-time or school-based, and they’re open to anyone of working age. We welcome interest from people of all backgrounds, including: school students, school leavers, retrenched apprentices and trainees who lost roles due to COVID-19, older workers looking to re-skill or change careers, women, people from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds, and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander candidates.

What’s the difference between apprentices and trainees?

Apprenticeships mostly provide training in a skilled trade, such as building and construction, hairdressing, cooking, electrical and automotive. Generally they can take up to 4 years to complete

Traineeships mostly provide training in a vocational area, such as business administration, childcare, IT systems or retail. They cover a much wider range of occupations than apprenticeships do, and can take anywhere from 1 to 4 years.

Both apprenticeships and traineeships are learning pathways that mix on-the-job training with formal study at a Registered Training Organisation (RTO), usually a Victorian TAFE institute. And both are easily linked to further vocational education and university studies, if you ever want to take a step further with your learning.

Check the Approved Training Scheme to see which qualifications are available as apprenticeships or traineeships.

group of students in the training kitchen

What kind of apprenticeships and traineeships are on offer in Victoria?

Depending on what stage you’re at in your studies, and what kind of position you’re after, there are a few different types of apprenticeships and traineeships available in Victoria. 

School-Based Apprenticeships and Traineeships

School-Based Apprenticeships and Traineeships (SBATs) are a great way to get a head start on your career by combining paid on-the-job training that leads to a qualification while completing your studies at school.


Pre-apprenticeship is an entry-level training; a great way to experience what it’s like to work in an industry before making the commitment to become an apprentice. If you decide to continue your training after a pre-apprenticeship, your RTO or GTO may even be able to help you find an employer to take you on as an apprentice and build your career from there.

Big Build Apprenticeships and Traineeships

Big Build Apprenticeships (BBA) offer apprenticeship and traineeship opportunities on some of Victoria’s biggest road and rail projects. Here you get to play an important role in rebuilding our economy.

Mainstream Apprenticeships and Traineeships

This is the main track for apprenticeships and traineeships, covering a huge range of occupations from floristry to plumbing to financial services. Like all apprenticeships and traineeships, you’ll get real wages while learning new skills that will set you up for life. Learn more about the range of opportunities available here

What’s in it for you?

As an apprentice or trainee, you’ll complete your learning with a great mix of practical skills and formal education. This is a combination that’s always in demand by employers across industries and professions. You can find skilled employment, continue your studies, or even start your own business. 

Along the way, you’ll get to earn while you learn, develop real-world skills, and get an up-close view of what your future career could look like.


multi ethnic preschool teacher and students in classroom

Contact the TAFE and Training Line

If you would like to get information about undertaking an apprenticeship or traineeship you can contact the TAFE and Training Line via:

13 18 23
8.30am to 4.30pm, Monday to Friday (closed on public holidays)