Apprentice and Trainee Rights


If you’re an apprentice or trainee you have the same rights as any other worker. That means you have rights relating to things like pay, hours of work and the type of environment you work in through an Award or Employment Agreement.

However special wage rates apply for apprentices and trainees. You also have responsibilities to your employer, because you are signing a contract which commits you to a legal obligation.

What's a Contract of Training?

A contract of training is a legal agreement signed by you, your employer, and a parent or guardian (if you're under 18).

The contract contains detail about the:

  • Hours you’ll be working
  • Length of your employment period with the company
  • Type of apprenticeship or traineeship that will be undertaken
  • Training obligations of the employer and apprentice or trainee
  • The start date for the training
  • Duration of the training period
  • Where you’ll receive practical experience (the workplace)
  • Which Registered Training Organisation (RTO) will provide the structured, off-the-job or workplace-based training

Your Rights

Some of your on-the-job rights as an apprentice or trainee are:

  • The right to a safe and healthy work environment and access to amenities (like toilets or a lunch room)
  • The right to sick leave and holiday pay
  • The right to join a union and be represented by union officials
  • The right to receive proper training
  • The right to be treated fairly as another employee and not to be victimised because you’re an apprentice or trainee

Remember that it's your right to join a trade union as an apprentice or trainee.

Unions can help with information about wages and conditions. They can also help if you have any difficulties with your employer. Check out the Australian Council of Trade Unions (new window) for more information about unions.

For more about your rights at work, check out the Employment rights section of our Jobs & Careers section.

To find out more about wages and conditions, contact the Fair Work Ombudsman on 13 13 94 or visit the Fair Work Ombudsman (new window) website.

Your Obligations

As well as having rights, when you sign up for an apprenticeship or traineeship, you have certain obligations. You must:

  • Sign a training contract
  • Pay your tuition fees and any charges for tools, student services and amenities and take-home goods (however, some industrial awards require that your employer pays part or all of these charges)

Where To Go for Help

If you think you're not being treated fairly, or you experience any problems with your employer or your training provider, there are things that you can do. Check out our Solving a dispute page for more information.


Apprenticeships and Traineeships
The Victorian Government has a range of guides and resources about apprenticeships and traineeships in Victoria.

Australian Council of Trade Unions
Information on how to join a union, health and safety in the workplace and your rights as a worker.

Fair Work Ombudsman
Gives advice about Australia's national workplace relations system and helps people understand their workplace rights and responsibilities.

Australian Apprenticeships 
The Federal Government's apprenticeships and traineeships scheme (formerly New Apprenticeships).