What’s the difference between an apprenticeship and a traineeship?

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Apprenticeships and traineeships are a fantastic position for people looking to get started in an industry. Both entry-level roles allow you to can earn money and learn valuable skills and both apprenticeships and traineeships give you the opportunity to combine workplace-based learning with a formal qualification.

On the surface, apprenticeships and a traineeships may seem similar. But there are some key differences in the rules of the agreement between the two. Apprenticeships can be for skilled trades, such as a plumber or electrican; while a traineeship can be for the vocational sector, such as hospitality. There are also differences in the contract.  Apprenticeships require a greater level of commitment from the apprentice and, in turn, get a greater level of commitment from their employer. For example, at the end of the probationary period, both the apprentice and employer must agree to cancel the training contract. This is different to a traineeship where either the trainee or employer can cancel the contract on their own. We have highlighted the main differences in the table below.

The differences between an apprenticeship and a traineeship

  Apprenticeship Traineeship
Employer agrees to employ and support you for duration of training period. Yes Yes
You agree to follow instructions/attend off-the-job/workplace based training. Yes Yes
New employer must continue with Training Contract if ownership changes. Yes No
Training Contract can be cancelled only if all parties agree at end of probation. Yes* No

* Any disagreement regarding the Training Contract can be resolved by contacting the Victoria Registration and Qualifications Authority (VRQA).

School-based apprenticeships and traineeships (SBATs)

If you like the sounds of an apprenticeship or a traineeship and you’re still at school, you may want to consider a school-based apprenticeship or traineeship, or SBAT for short.

A SBAT lets you work as an apprentice or trainee while you’re still at school. It gives you part-time work and Vocational Education and Training (VET) so you can finish your VCE or VCAL with a valuable qualification, and opens pathways to a full-time apprenticeship or further study.

You can read more about SBATs and view the apprenticeships and traineeships available to you by reading our School-based apprenticeships and traineeships page.

Read Our SBATs Guide

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