Apprentice Pay

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What is an Apprentice?

An apprentice is an employee who has been hired to learn a particular trade or profession on the job whilst completing studies to become a qualified tradesperson. Some examples of trades where apprentices are common are electrician; plumber; and hairdresser.

An apprentice has to have a training agreement with their employer to qualify for apprentice pay rates. The training agreement sets out terms and conditions relating to training and supervision. The apprentice must also attend a registered training organisation (RTO), such as a TAFE or trade school for assessment and additional off-the job-training. The training agreement (and a training plan prepared by the RTO) must be approved and registered with an appropriate State or Territory Training Authority (STA). 

As the Training Agreement usually only focuses on training obligations, it might be useful to have a separate employment contract to address employment specific matters. out  

Apprentices get the same entitlements as other employees, such as annual leave, sick leave, public holidays and breaks. Special minimum apprentice pay rates and conditions may apply, and it is vital employers understand the specific rules of their industry award, as well as the training agreement and employment contract.

Pay Rates for Australian Apprentices

Paying an apprentice may not be as simple as paying other employees. This is because the rate of pay is based on a number of different factors and considerations, which may include:

  • Industry or occupation and applicable award
  • age
  • terms and conditions of the registered training agreement
  • length / duration of the apprenticeship (e.g. three or four year apprenticeship)
  • prior learning (ie. how much training the apprentice has already completed)
  • schooling (whether or not the employee is still attending school)
  • qualification type e.g. Certificate III
  • whether or not the employee completed year 12 and when.

The factors considered will ultimately turn to the provisions of relevant award or industrial instrument.

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Increasing the Apprentice Pay Rate

During an apprenticeship, the apprentice will naturally learn new skills and become more competent in their job. When an apprentice progresses to the next level of their apprenticeship, they are usually entitled to a pay increase. Modes of progression will usually be outlined in the applicable industrial instrument. In most cases, progression is:

  • time based – that is, the apprentice moves up to the next pay level after they have worked a certain amount of time (usually 12 months); and/or
  • competency based – that is when the apprentice has attained the required skills to advance to the next stage of their apprenticeship. This can occur prior to the completion of the above time period.

How an apprentice completes the training depends on the employer, as long as the requirements of the training plan and the terms of the training agreement are met. Progress is dependent upon assessment of competency by the relevant RTO. However, once the apprentice has completed their training and earned their trade certificate, their pay rate must be raised beyond that of an apprentice to the applicable award rate for a trade qualified employee.

Mature Aged Apprentice Wage and Special Conditions

Also known as an Adult Apprentice, a mature aged apprentice is anyone who is 21 years or older.

Hiring a mature aged apprentice can be good for business.

To compensate for any prior experience a mature age apprentice may bring to the job, the minimum award pay rates for adult apprentices are usually higher than that of their juniors.

Discussions about the mature aged apprentice wage, availability, and special conditions can be carried out between the apprentice and employer with help from an authorised training provider.

To help you better understand apprentice pay rates and how they apply to you, fill out the online form below or call 1300 651 415 for free initial advice.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • How Much Do Apprentices Get Paid In Australia?

    How much an apprentice gets paid in Australian depends on many factors including:

    • the age of the apprentice
    • if they are still at school or have left school
    • if they have left school, how long ago they left school
    • how far advanced they are in their apprenticeship
    • the type of qualification they will receive when the apprenticeship is complete
    • the industry or occupation and the applicable award.
  • What Is The Average Traineeship Wage In Australia?

    Traineeship wages differ greatly and will generally depend on the traineeship and whether the trainee has left school, and if so, when. Most traineeship pay rates are determined by the Miscellaneous Award 2020. Traineeships allow you to study for a vocational (rather than a trade) certificate qualification to work in a particular industry or occupation, for example office work, childcare or information technology. Traineeships generally take 1-2 years to complete.

  • Who Pays For The Apprentices Training?

    It will depend on the applicable award but generally the employer pays the apprentice for both on-the-job and off-the-job training (ie. for the hours they attend training at the Registered Training Organisation).

    Many awards say that employers also need to pay any compulsory fees and charges related to the training. These fees are set by the registered training organisation (RTO) and can include:

    • costs of providing the training
    • course and assessment materials
    • costs for textbooks.
  • How Much Should An Apprentice Get Paid?

    It will depend on a number of different factors including the applicable industry or occupational award, the age of the apprentice, how far along the employee is in their apprenticeship, and if and when they have left school.

  • How Much Does A 17 Year Old Apprentice Get Paid?

    It will depend on the applicable award and the qualification they are working towards, as well as other factors including whether they are still at school, or when they left school, and when they started their apprenticeship.

  • Can An Apprentice Get A Pay Increase?

    Yes. An apprentice may get a pay increase under an award as they progress through the levels or stages of the apprenticeship either after they have worked a certain amount of time, or based on their level of competency, and they may be also eligible for a pay increase as they get older.

  • Who Qualifies As A Mature Age Apprentice?

    A Mature Age Apprentice usually refers to an Adult Apprentice who starts their apprenticeship aged 21 years or older.

  • What Is The Australian Apprentice Wage Subsidy?

    There are various Government incentives in respect of Australian Apprenticeships available to eligible employers to help them meet costs associated with an apprentice. This is however outside the scope of the services that Employsure offers. Please see the Australian Government’s Australian Apprenticeships web page for more information.

  • What are the benefits of hiring an apprentice?

    Taking on an apprentice can be beneficial as it can help you manage your staffing levels more effectively and also provide the opportunity for employers to keep them in the business once training is completed.

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