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What you need to know about apprenticeships

New EmployeesJune 7, 2016

What you need to know about apprenticeships (Last Updated On: June 7, 2016)

Apprentices can be a valuable asset to a business as they provide employers the opportunity to train an employee in their profession from the get go. They are a tried and tested method of recruiting new staff, upskilling or retraining existing staff and can be a great way to reduce staff turnover.

With this in mind, Employsure has simplified the most important aspects when it comes to apprentices.

Who is classified as an apprentice?

An apprentice is an employee who has been hired to learn a particular trade or profession on the job, whilst completing post-tertiary studies to become a qualified tradesperson. Some examples of trades where apprenticeships are common include electrical, plumbing, automotive and hairdressing.

Employing an apprentice

When employing an apprentice, you need to ensure you have a formal training agreement in place and are enrolled with a Registered Training Organisation (RTO). The training agreement and training plan (prepared by the RTO) must be approved by the State or Territory Training Authority (STA). As the training agreement usually only focuses on training obligations, Employsure recommends employers still ask the employee to sign an employment contract, which sets out the employee’s obligations and provides wider protection for the employer.

Apprentices may only be employed on a permanent basis (either full-time or part-time) but not as casuals, and are generally engaged for three or four years.

Apprentices are generally entitled to the same allowances, overtime, breaks and the National Employment Standards as other permanent employees. Their pay and conditions, entitlements to reimbursement for training fees, payment for training time and other entitlements are generally governed by the modern award applicable and training and employment contracts.

What are apprentice training requirements?

The law surrounding apprentices varies from state to state and depends on the terms of the modern award applicable to your business, as well as the terms of the training agreement. As a general overview, apprentices must be provided with access to appropriate tools and equipment, and adequate supervised training to acquire the knowledge and skills needed to advance.

Apprentices must be enrolled in an approved training course with an RTO, have a training plan and be allowed time off to attend formal training. This may involve attendance at a training institution, formal training in the workplace or self-paced learning.

Employers must keep records of the apprentice’s hours of work and training.  As for all employees, employers are also responsible for providing a safe working environment for the apprentice.


Employsure can answer any questions you have regarding apprentices and your obligations as an employer. Contact us today on 1300 651 415.

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